This offseason, Scott Boras will be seeking a contract in excess of $100 million for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
According to Heyman, an unnamed general manager recently asserted that Choo could be in line to receive a contract in the $90-$100 million range in this winter's free agent market. When Boras was asked about the price estimate, he replied to Heyman by indicating that the figure was "low, way low."
"As a custom of the industry, prognostications by executives this time of year are dramatically divergent from the real market," Boras told Heyman in an interview. "I don't think anyone correctly predicted what Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford got."
Heyman also notes that Choo should be receiving an abundance of offers this winter, with many big market teams, including the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Cubs, and Rangers, expected to be in the mix.
Despite the lack of All-Star nods and absence in MVP voting, Choo has been one of the best players in baseball over the past half decade, slugging .291/.392/.470 with a 24.1 WAR since the start of the 2008 season. The outfielder has been a consistent threat both at the plate and on the bases, having already recorded three 20-20 seasons in his career. Of course, Choo gets a substantial boost in value due to his superb pitch recognition skills. For his career, he has averaged 85 walks over the course of a 162 game season, and his 109 bases on balls rank 2nd in the NL this season.
However, Choo's game does come with some caveats, almost all of which have to with his play in the field. With the presence of Jay Bruce, Choo has been forced to switch from his natural position of right field to center this season. The results have been disastrous as the well below-average right fielder has been downright atrocious up the middle. Fangraphs estimates that Choo has cost the Reds 19 runs on defense this season, the second worst DRS total in the league among ALL position players. His -16 UZR is second only to Carlos Beltran among outfielders this season.
The Reds acquired Choo last offseason as part of a three team deal that sent prospect Didi Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks and pitcher Trevor Bauer to the Cleveland Indians. The club will almost certainly look to resign him this offseason, but Choo's swelling price tag and the Reds' limited financial resources could push the team out of the market for his services. If Choo were to leave, the Reds do have a potential everyday centerfield option in speedster Billy Hamilton, but the offensive downgrade from Choo to Hamilton could be too tough to overcome for a team with hopes of contending next season.