The New York Yankees will consider signing outfielder Shin-Soo Choo this offseason, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. This comes nearly a month after the news that superagent Scott Boras will seek a nine-figure deal for the South Korean outfielder this winter.
Choo, 31, is considered to be among the top options available on this year's free agent market. The Reds outfielder and lead-off man landed in Cincinnati last winter after spending the previous 8 years with the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians, where he emerged as one of the best power-speed threats in baseball. Though his defense was horrid (largely due to the presence of Jay Bruce in Cincinnati, which forced the natural right fielder to move to center), Choo had arguably the best season of his career this past year. In 154 games, Choo hit .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 20 steals, 107 runs scored, and a 151 wRC+. His 112 walks were second in the NL, and despite his defensive inefficiency, he still accrued a 5.2 wins above replacement total. Since 2008, Choo has hit .290/.392/.469, making him one of the best offensive forces in baseball over that time frame.
The Yankees' interest is intriguing, as the team has stated many times their intentions to get below $189 million in total payroll for the 2014 season. Despite many large contracts coming off the books in a couple weeks, the team will be forced to doll out a hefty sum this winter as they have glaring vacancies at catcher, shortstop, third base, and starting pitcher. They are also facing the possibility of losing star second baseman Robinson Cano, and will likely be forced to give out one of the largest contracts in the history of baseball to retain the slugger.
There wil be no shortage of teams vying for Choo's services this winter. The Rangers, Cubs, Astros, Mariners, Phillies, Mets and Reds are all rumored to have interest in signing him. The Astros and Cubs are particularly interesting options as both teams have elite farm systems and are expected to rise from the cellar over the next few seasons.