Report: Cubs to Make a Run at Shin-Soo Choo in the Off-Season

According to a report from Patrick Mooney, his sources indicate the Cubs “will make a run at Shin-Soo Choo this winter.” Mooney reported that Choo would fit the Cubs plan to “collect more left-handed hitters and boost their on-base percentage.”

Shin-Soo Choo is having a very good season in his walk year for the Reds. Choo is represented by Scott Boras, who could also be looking at the Cubs as a possible destination for another one of his clients this winter, Jacoby Ellsbury.

Shin-Soo Choo is hitting .275/.412/.441 in 120 games for the Reds this season with 27 doubles, one triple and 15 home runs. The 31-year old outfielder has done a majority of his damage this season against right-handed pitching. Choo is hitting .318/.454/.550 with 23 doubles, one triple and 15 homers against righties and only .186/.324/.214 against southpaws with four doubles.

Patrick Mooney reported that “it’s harder to imagine the Cubs giving Jacoby Ellsbury a megadeal” and Shin-Soo Choo seems to fit the type of player the front office would like to add to the mix.

The Cubs have not shut the door on re-signing David DeJesus, if the Nationals do not pick up his option for next season. The Cubs view DeJesus has a “fourth outfielder while looking for upgrades” according to the report.

Jed Hoyer recently talked about the Cubs’ problems on offense and the front office could address the offense this winter the same way they addressed the rotation last off-season.

Jed Hoyer from Comcast SportsNet, “We’re going to take a pretty hard look at our offense this offseason, for sure. We have a lot of young offensive talent coming. But we can’t just rely on the young guys. We have to figure out how we can be a more efficient offensive team. The biggest thing we have to figure out is (our offense). We do some things pretty well. Our slugging percentage has been pretty good this year. But we’ve got to get to the bottom of the runners-in-scoring-position issue. We haven’t been the worst batting-average team in the National League for two years, but we have been the worst in scoring position. The fact that those things don’t line up is a frustration. We have to get on base more. Period. There’s a team offensive element that I don’t think we’re all that good at. I think we’re last in the league in sacrifice bunts, last in sacrifice flies. We have to get better at all those elements of the game.

The Cubs sound like they realize there will have to be some money spent upgrading the offense this winter based on Hoyer’s comments.

Full Report from Comcast SportsNet

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  • TheWrongGuy

    Nice Report Neil! But I really don’t see too many good OBP guys signing with this team. I like Choo … who doesn’t. But realistically I don’t think he’s a fit financially speaking. They need to get the historical ballpark within standards at a minimum. Yet with most of our upcoming talent I do see a need for young left handed hitting talent. Again good report Neil.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks man

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s fix the offense: re-sign David DeJesus.

    LOL

    Choo has had a great year for sure. But that means you can expect a
    25% fall off next year with the big contract, and at age 32, you cannot expect
    him to supersede this year’s achievements. This is probably his career year.

    So what is Choo?
    He’s a RF.
    He’s an OBP machine at .412. His OPS is excellent: .848 career mark.
    He’s a strikeout machine, too. 150 K’s are normal.
    He works the count, so he sees a lot of pitches.

    What is Choo not?
    A base stealer: 14 SB, 9 CS in 2013. Perhaps his running days are over.
    A two way player: he has lost he ability to hit LHP. .186 this year, .199 last year.
    That .214 slugging vs LHP is atrocious.

    Frankly, I want a power bat in RF.
    If Choo regresses, as naturally happens at age 32 after a career year, and especially
    after a huge contract, then you might have a stat line like this:
    .250/.324/.401 with 9 SB and 10 CS.
    Hey, that’s David DeJesus.
    Again.

    Gag!

    Schierholtz has done a nice job as a one way player.

    .288 BA….550 slug.

    Now if we could find a two way player like that….grab him!

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I have to agree Rip. looking at his stats I thought he’s a playoon player. However I’ve said it before. Any lefthander is more than a playoon player because 76% of pitchers are right handed. A lefty “playoon player,” will start 3 if not 4 out of 5 games.

      At his age, not worth what Boras will demand. Get Corey Hart if we have to sign an overpriced free agent. Which all the top-billed guys are.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Corey Hart is a great low risk high reward guy and fits the bill for power. His knee problems will make him a low cost guy probably worth a gamble on.

      • J Daniel

        You agreeing with rip … Might be a first

        • 07GreyDigger

          It’s out of control isn’t it? Now to have me agree with Rip and cubtex in one topic? In the words of Keanu Reeves, WOAH!

    • Tony_Hall

      There are very few players who hit both LH’s and RH’s well enough to be 2 way players. If teams could have more than 5 bench players, you would see most players platooned.

      Choo can play CF or LF and on the right deal would be a nice addition.

      • mutantbeast

        3/36 or 4/48-essentially the Michael Bourn deal last year. More than that, forget about it.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I agree Rip. This has the potential to be a dangerous contract. The team needs to go out and spend money but wisely. Do we want to be paying Choo $17 million at the end of his deal to be a 4th OF?

      • John_CC

        $17M? I don’t understand what you are saying. Choo will not be making 17M per, at least not on the Cubs.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I admit, I used an arbitrary number there, but, if you look at two players that are the most similar to Choo’s game, Torii Hunter and Shane Victorino are making an average of $13 million in their contracts. Seeing as Choo is likely one of the top names to be on the free agent OF market, one could say he might make $15 million per.

          • John_CC

            I suppose. The Cubs would probably be willing to pay more on a shorter term. I just can’t see them putting in for 4 years or more. So if it was 4 and 15 then maybe 2 and 16.5 plus an option? I don’t have any clue here!

        • 07GreyDigger

          I threw out an arbitrary number to be honest.

          But, considering that Victorino and Hunter made $13 million per this offseason, I’m guessing Choo who is a higher prize than both (but similar numbers) could command at least $15 million.

    • mutantbeast

      (1) cant hit lefties(2) lacks power for a corner OF position. The Cubs struggle enough against lefties. Choo is basically an improved DDJ. or Nate S with higher OBP and little power.

  • K_Gripp

    Ive had my eye on Choo since last season. Offensively I think the Cubs are in need of a lead off hitter and a RH power bat. This would take care of 1 of those things. I prefer Choo to Ellsbury because I think he poses less injury risk. My hope has been that the Cubs would sign one of these two and then acquire the RH power bat via trade. I know power is a slim commodity in the MLB right now so Im not sure who that would be.

    Hoyer is absolutely correct that “We cant just rely on young guys”. If the Cubs top prospects are 1-3 years away and then it takes them 1-3 years to get to full production on the field, on top of the 3 years where we’ve been one of the 5 worst teams in the MLB then that would mean that the rebuilding phase would take 5-9 years. The FO has to find a way to get a couple of top MLB talent players who are producing now. Who that is and how they acquire them is what the FO is being paid to do. I like Rizzo and Im glad to have him but I still maintain that signing Prince Fielder to a long term megadeal made more sense. He was the last 27 year old superstar to hit FA in his prime and everyone recognized that. If we signed him we at least had a piece that we could build around.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Problem with a great leadoff guy is who drives him in? If they stink with RISP, having that awesome leadoff guy is useless.

      • John_CC

        I think Hoyer’s point is this: the team is not as terrible in overall BA, the SLG is good, but the run production is last. This does not add up. Remember, believers in stats do not buy the BA w/ RISP thing. The reason then for not scoring runs is that there are not enough men on base to be driven in. The theory is that eventually the RISP batting average will normalize – Batting Avg is batting average so if you put men on base more often they will score.

        • cubtex

          I guess that explains on why the Cubs are last in baseball in RISP. They don’t believe in that stat. Unfortunately for them…the teams that usually lead in that stat seem to always be near the top of the standings and have the best records.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Very true. But when your team is batting .239 this season, you’re probably not going to win any games either.

          • John_CC

            Before you get all huffy, take a breath and try to think about this rationally, whether you agree or not with the theory, just give it a fair listen.

            First, Hoyer pointed out that they are terrible at hitting with men on base. Everyone can see that. When I say that most saber-stat guys do not “believe” in RISP batting averages I should be more clear. They do not believe that, on average, there is much difference. That a batting average is just that, an average of how often a guy gets a hit when coming to the plate. That average doesn’t change. To explain further, the theory or plan rather to baseball people that believe in the importance of OBP goes simply like this:

            The more often men get on base the more chance there are for him to score.

            I’m not trying to be a smart-ass here. Think of it like this, if the Cubs had the best hitter w RISP on the team, Miggy Cabrera is hitting like .450 w RISP (and .360 on the season mind you) do you think the Cubs would in contention because of that? He has 120 rbi, but on the Cubs, hitting 3rd he would have how many — 90? Without men on, you can’t hit w RISP.

            Back to Choo, he get’s on base basically 2 twice a game (on avg). That’s twice a game that the next two hitters at least have a chance to move him or drive him in. And that makes so many more opportunities for the middle of the order to hit w RISP that eventually the average of driving him in will come in line with the BA of the hitter behind him.

          • cubtex

            Huffy Huffy. If you recall….I have been a fan of Choo’s for years. I have mentioned how he would be a great fit for the Cubs for years. That being said….Even with Choo….you cannot win with Rizzo, Schierholtz and Castillo hitting 3,4,5 next year. I don’t care how many times Choo gets on base. So you replace DeJesus with his .330 OBP with Choo who is a .400 OBP. What is that amount to over a course of a year??? 1/2 more on base per game? Now if they pick up Choo with a Corey Hart, Nelson Cruz or someone else who can drive him in…..count me in. I am all about watching a better product on the field.

          • John_CC

            Yeah, count me out on an OF of Choo, Hart, and Cruz.

          • triple

            Oh huffy huffy… makes me wanna go ride bikes. I honestly don’t see them picking up Choo, Hart, or Cruz this offseason. I’d put my money on another offseason of low cost/high risk/high reward type offensive players. Maybe they extend themselves a little bit for one offensive player, but I think they will maintain the course.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Who would those guys be then? Hart will be discounted because of injury and Cruz will be discounted because of steroids. Sounds like the perfect low cost/high reward guys to me.

          • triple

            I know Melky had to sign a 2yr/$18 mil contract last year, but I can’t see Cruz going that low. Melky got paid $6 mil in ’12, so he still got a raise. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cruz be offered at least a 2yr/24 mil contract with a 3rd option year, and can’t see the Cubs giving up that kind of money on guy who will turn 34 next year, and who’s last 3 years has an OBP of .312, .319, and .330. His production will be decreasing throughout the rest of his career, especially if he is playing clean. And w/o PED’s, injuries will be more likely for him.

            Maybe there’s a shot for a 1-year contract for Hart, but I’d guess that will still be costly, at least $10 mil, but maybe he’s worth a shot if he can be had for that kind of money. If he’s healthy, they should get about 130-140 games from him, so that would be okay, and he can spell Rizzo at first base. So I guess maybe they’d have a shot at him.

            A couple guys I’ve mentioned before, but both have team options for ’14 are Chris Young and Coco Crisp, although I think the A’s will pick up Crisp’s contract at $7.5 mil. Young on the other hand is younger and its now or never for him at this point. I’d bet they could get him on a 1-year $6 mil contract at this point.

            I’m not saying they should sign Chris Young, but I think he truly fits the profile of low cost/high risk/reward that they look for.

          • That One Guy

            Most profitable team in baseball. Spend some of it. Thanks.

          • Dorasaga

            You’re in a mess, man. How can you fight the religion of “what stat is better” with facts? Com’on. Let’s go hiking!

            :=p

          • mutantbeast

            Look at the Cards-RISP is a stratospheric .325. Craig is like .450 with RISP. Molina is the the high 350s. Niether of them have Ruthian power, they just take advantage of opportunities. The Cubs don’t.

    • Denver Mike

      Price Fielders stats this year are only marginally better than Rizzo’s.

      Fielder: 63R 20HR 87RBI .258/.346/.437/.783

      Rizzo: 59R 20HR 68RBI .232/.325/.437/.762

      Thank goodness we didn’t sign Fielder. I completely understand Fielder is a proven commodity, and Rizzo is not, but Fielder is also almost 300lbs and will be 30 years old next year. I don’t have any inside info or anything but I have to imagine that carrying that weight around takes a toll on the knees, and wouldn’t be surprised if we see his numbers start to decline in the coming years. Would you want to be looking forward to 7 more years at over $23M/yr for a 30+ year old, or 7 more years at just under $6M/yr for a 23 year old given the stats above?

      • cubtex

        that average and RBI total is not marginally better. It is significantly better(especially with Cabrera knocking in a ton of runs in front of him) I wasn’t in favor of signing Fielder but to compare him to Rizzo is not a close comparison.

        • Denver Mike

          The point I am trying to make is that for an additional 19RBIs and .021 OPS, you are paying an additional $17M per year, and will be paying that for the next 7 years, until Fielder is 37 years old. I also think there is a potential to see his production decline in the coming years making that contract look worse.

          Based on how Rizzo has played this year there is no guarantee he is still around 7 years from now. I understand that as well as anyone, but let’s not forget that last year he hit .338 w/RISP with a .962 OPS so he is not a lost cause by any means.

          • cubtex

            I agree.

          • triple

            I think Rizzo is doing just fine for his first full big league season. Obviously he’s getting killed acting as our 3rd hitter this year, but he’s 23 and playing his first full season and now has absolutely no protection. Yet he’s gonna finish the season with 20-25 HR’s and about 85 RBI’s. Those aren’t shabby numbers. And there are many major leaguers who wish they could have that for a good season, and if this is a bad to average season for Rizzo, then we will see even better from him.

          • 07GreyDigger

            He’ll hit those numbers if he hits in the #2 spot! Or at least faces Ross Ohlendorf every day.

          • Dorasaga

            It’s 20 pts.+ on-base. Twenty is the difference between George Brett and Ron Cey. Twenty is what separates Willie Mays and Rick Monday.

            We shouldn’t underestimate twenty points of on-base%.

      • mutantbeast

        That’s why the Prince is in the AL. Hes a DH in the making. Detroits problem will be eventually Miggy will be a DH also, and V Mart already is one. Good luck with a team that has 3 Dhs. And they wonder why Porcello struggles?

        • K_Gripp

          Im sure they will struggle right to the world series for a 2nd consecutive year. The Tigers are in win now mode for that very reason. Fielder, Verlander, and Cabrera are in their prime and they have 3-4 seasons where they have a legit chance to win the WS. Also for the all of the Fielder folks questioning his weight and durability. This will be the 8th consecutive season that he plays >158 games.

    • mutantbeast

      Id prefer Ellsbury, only because hes an above AVG CF comoared to Choo, who defensively profiles far better as a corner OF.

  • cubtex

    The only thing that matters. Why would Choo sign with a rebuilding team in his 30′s if he is pursued by other teams who have a shot to win now? The answer…… Money! The only way for Cubs to get Choo would be to pay big.

    • Ripsnorter1

      More money = more weight on the mind = under-performance.

      He’d be another David DeJesus. And who wants that?

    • cubtex

      Unless no team pursues him(kind of like Bourn last year) I don’t see this happening. I imagine both NY teams will be after him, the Giants would be a great fit(especially with that huge Asian population) Mariners(replace the Ichiro love affair) and many more

      • triple

        It will be interesting to see what happens with Choo if the Reds make the 1-year qualifying offer.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jason Heyward’s jaw broken last night….maybe the Cubs can sell them an OF.
    SCHIERHOLTZ!

    He’s outproducing Heyward anyway…..
    The Braves have the worst offensive OF in MLB. Not even the Astros produce at a lower rate.

    Heywards’s stats:
    .253/.347/.423
    13 HR and only 37 RBI for the entire year.

    Schierholtz:
    18 HR…58 RBI….278/.330/.520

    Maybe we can pick up another injured pitcher…..

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Good Luck getting Schierholtz through waivers.

  • Ripsnorter1

    David Ortiz says Dempster’s a louse for plunking Arod.

    There’s trouble in BoSox paradise.

    Hey, isn’t that what got Theo fired?

    • 07GreyDigger

      Did Ortiz get mad Dempster hit Arod for doing steroids because Ortiz did steroids?

      • Brp921

        Didn’t someone comment here that ARod bad mouthed Dempster in the off season. If so I’m sure Dempster had that in mind as well.

    • SuzyS

      Facts, Rip…facts. Theo was not fired.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Choo, Ellsbury……..what happen to the youth movement?

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think this article is speculation by the writer. Nowhere in the article does Jed ever mention Choo.

  • Denver Mike

    David DeJesus claimed by Tampa Bay

  • mutantbeast

    I really don’t want Choo that badly. This team already struggles with lefties , and Choo OPS is over 200 pointes higher against righties. Choo is essentially Nate S w/o the power and a better OBP. Maybe if they can sign him to a 3/36 or 4/48 contract I might consider it, but nothing more. I doubt Bore Us will go for those type numbers.