Could the Tigers make a run for Shin-Soo Choo?

The Tigers made the two biggest trades of the offseason to date to create flexibility out of a top-five payroll. They wouldn’t address the reinvestment end of that money until they took care of their most pressing need and signed a closer. Now that Joe Nathan is about to become a Tiger, it’s time, and the Tigers might well spend it making one good run at one of the biggest free agents on the market again.

Both Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com report the Tigers have shown interest in multi-tooled Shin-Soo Choo, the most prominent left-handed hitting outfielder available now that Jacoby Ellsbury is headed to the Yankees. Feinsand cites a source that Choo is Detroit’s top free-agent target.

Choo fits the profile of hitter the Tigers are known to be seeking, balancing out a predominantly right-handed hitting lineup while also adding speed and on-base percentage back into Detroit’s offense. The Tigers saw him up-close for years in Cleveland, where he was a teammate of Detroit DH Victor Martinez. And unlike other speedy leadoff hitters who have hit the market, hitters the Tigers have traditionally judged on how their game would mature as they age and lose speed, Choo brings a skill set that doesn’t hinge on his speed.

The question for the Tigers with Choo is financial, how far they’re willing or able to go to sign him. They just shed the burden of a megacontract by trading Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler. With several players nearing free agency, Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera foremost among them, they can’t afford to put themselves in the same bind, though Choo isn’t expected to approach the nine-year deal Fielder signed with the Tigers two winters ago.

12 Comments

I think Andy Dirks got a raw deal at the end of last year. He was really starting to heat up and then Leyland started rotating Tuiososopo, Kelly, and Peralta into the mix. He had very few at bats (one was a pinch hit grand slam,,,remember that?) then he waited almost a week to put up an 0fer in the first post season game, and then that was it. I think he got one more start but wasn’t even allowed to finish the game. I would start the season with Dirks and by the trade deadline, if He’s not cutting the mustard, Dombrowski can make a move then. I enjoy watching the Tigers. Signing a bunch of high priced free agents is not as much fun to root for. I say no to Choo. Gesuindheit.

Fair point. I was surprised Dirks didn’t play winter ball this offseason to try to get his bat going again, given the slow start he had this past season after not going to the Dominican last winter.

I think the Yankees may have blown the top off of the signing of Choo. If he rightly thinks he is worth as much as Ellsbury, it would take at least $20M/year for Choo. He is not worth that much in my opinion. I’d look at a cheaper 1B (Morneau for a year or two and keep Miggy at 3B until 2015) or try to pry Hunley from SD to play 3B. Then platoon Nick and Dirks.

Morneau just agreed to a two-year deal with Colorado. Still a good number of first basemen out there (Mike Napoli, James Loney, and now the surgically repaired Corey Hart). Interesting idea.

Morneau signed for $13M for 2 years, which would be palatable (but still too much after watching him struggle down the stretch in Pittsburgh). Napoli wants multiple years and will be more expensive. 2012 Loney scares me, so perhaps moving Miggy to 1B is the best option. Crazy off season for sure. I hope Nick C is fielding a ton of ground ball at 3B this off season.

I’d much prefer bringing back Granderson (who it sounds like might be signing with the Mets very shortly) over signing Choo. Not really a fan of losing a draft pick for either, especially since Dombrowski has admitted himself that our farm system needs more talent, but Granderson will take less years and $$$ since Boras isn’t involved. And I don’t think Choo will age as well as everyone expects.
I think you have to move Miggy back to first base to start protecting his health – Hart could be an idea for the outfield, though he’s more of a risk out there with the knees now.
I’ll throw two names out there that could be interesting – Reed Johnson or Rajai Davis. Neither has to play everyday but both could work as great platoon partners for Dirks.

We’d have to give up a draft pick to get Grandy which is why he’s probably off-limits. But, never say never.

You wonder if a deal involving Denard Span for Fister would have been possible.

The Yankees are going berserk, aren’t they? Just makes me wonder what Mr. D will do with this team. No public announcement declaring Miggy to 1st base yet, either.

Choo is a Boras client, and he will try to sell him in the Ellsbury contract range. Using WAR as the benchmark over the last 3 years and throwing out the one injury shortened season for each player, it’s not much of a contest with Ellsbury (+13.9) over Choo (+7.6).
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Dodgers have 4 OFs (Puig, Kemp, Crawford, Ethier), one of the vets should be traded this offseason. Ethier is injury prone but a lefty bat with a career .360 OBP and some extra base pop. he’s due 18 million a year for the next 4 years. Crawford 20 million per next 4 years, Kemp 21 million per next 6 years.

Not a bad idea Woody but what would we have to give up to get one of them?

It’s been confirmed now that Miggy will be back at first, and Castellanos at third. Choo would not be a good fit for the Tigers, and I think they’ve stated now that they don’t want him. They really need another lefty bat, though, so we’ll see how DD can address that.

http://minoringinbaseball.com/

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