Free Agent Targets: Shin-Soo Choo

It’s the offseason, which means it’s time for some hot stove action. We compiled a list of Free Agent targets we think would fit on the Cubs. We’ll be doing profiles on the players.

Shin-Soo Choo

B/T: L/L
Pos: CF
2013 Slash Line: .285/.423/.462 in 712 PA’s
2013 wRC+: 151
2013 fWAR/bWAR: 5.2/4.2

Profile

Choo is a solid outfield bat that would ideally hit at the top of the order for any team. He drew 112 walks last year but he was most famous for being hit by 26 pitches which lead all of baseball. Both of those stats attributed to his .423 OBP. HBP are a difficult stat to project because they tend to fluctuate from year to year. Even if Choo gets hit less he has good enough on base skills to retain most of that .423 (his career OBP is .389).

In 2013 the Reds shoved Choo in CF where he logged 1333 innings of work. He’s miscast out there. Baseball Reference had him costing the Reds nearly 2 wins with his poor defensive play in center. Choo is best suited for a corner outfield spot.

There are a few concerns with Choo. He’s on the wrong side of 30 and he’s a Boras client. The whispers are already being churned out that he’s looking for at least 90mm.

There’s also the issue of his platoon splits. In 2013 Choo hit .317/.457/.554 in 491 PAs against right handed pitching. In 221 PAs against lefties he hit .215/.347/.265. It seems to be a trend, in 2012 he hit .199/.318/.286 in 242 PAs against lefties. That’s not likely to get better as he gets older either.

Conclusions

Choo is looking like a RHP masher who will likely need some platooning fairly soon. He’s a corner guy with ok power and great on base skills. Choo has the ability to OBP .400 and getting 50+ XBH. In today’s game that has a lot of value. On base skills tend to erode slowly so it’s possible that he can still be a positive player towards the end of his hypothetical contract, but the platoon splits are something to think about.

All that being said, if the Cubs are going to overspend on a player I would prefer it be on Choo who has the chance to retain value more so than other free agent options. I would recommend signing him.

UPDATE 11/9/2013: Apparently Choo and Scott Boras want a hundred billion dollars (actually, just better than Jayson Werth‘s contract with the Nationals) so I lol.  -Rice

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