Shin-Soo Choo has been discussed as an outfield option for the Houston Astros this offseason. And I don’t think the Astros should sign him.
Choo is a talented player in the prime of his career. And the Astros need a huge upgrade to the outfield. On paper this looks like a perfect match. But is it?
For starters, let’s take a look at the outfielder’s statistical performance over the last two seasons.
- 2012: .283/.373/.441, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 21 SB
- 2013: .285/.423/.462, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 20 SB
Outfielders, or players in general, that can be counted on to produce 20/20 seasons don’t grow on trees and the chance to add one should not be taken lightly. That production would certainly look nice in Houston’s 2014 lineup. But at what cost?
I would not hold Choo’s low RBI numbers over the last two seasons against him, as that is a product of him batting at the top of the order. In the past when he batted in the middle of the order, Choo did show the ability to drive in runs (86 in 2009 and 90 in 2010), and he also has the ability to bat anywhere in the order. That is a valuable skill set.
But looking at Choo’s cumulative batting average does not tell the full story. Last season in 221 plate appearances, Choo hit just .215 against left-handed pitching. That is a problem that has plagued the outfielder for his entire career as his lifetime splits are .309 against right-handers and .243 against left-handers.
That and the fact that Choo is already 31 years old makes me hesitant to commit to Choo in a big way (both dollars and years). To some degree sure, Choo is worth signing. He is a talented player and could certainly help the Astros. At the $90 million or so that was being floated around last week for Choo, he would potentially be worth considering. But he might not be the best fit for the Astros since they are still a few years away from contending.
However, that is likely not a realistic price tag for Choo. With Scott Boras not having many big ticket free agents this winter, he will be looking to capitalize with Choo. For that reason, it seems plausible that the price tag for the outfielder will eclipse $126 million. And that is just way too much.
Would you consider Will Venable a player worth $125 million?
The answer likely is a resounding no. And that is nothing against Venable. But the San Diego outfielder’s 2013 was comparable to Choo’s with 22 HR’s and 22 SB’s.
Houston can find better ways to spend their money this offseason. What do you think?