Christmas may only be two months away, but that has not stopped Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees by filling up that wish list. Last week, we talked about the $300 million plan the Bronx Bombers had to spend on free agents such as Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Now, another outfielder is on the Yankees’ radar.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Reds’ outfielder Shin Soo-Choo has risen up the Yankees’ list at their latest organizational meetings. Cashman stated at his end-of-the-year press conference that the outfield was not high on the priority list for the team’s offseason plans. Would the team make a special exception for Choo?
The one thing that the 31-year-old outfielder does well is getting on-base. Last year, Choo hit in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career and was able to record a .423 on-base percentage (2nd in the National League). As a team, the Yankees had a .307 OBP (23rd in the MLB). Robinson Cano led the Yankees last year in that category (.383).
If the Yankees were to sign Choo for what is expected to be a hefty salary, he would be a prototypical fit for one of the corner outfield spots. As for the lineup, you could see Choo hitting 2nd in the order behind Brett Gardner to have two guys at the top of the order who can get on base for Cano (if he returns) and Mark Teixeira to have more run producing opportunities.
The problem the Yankees might have in signing him is the amount of teams that are involved. According to Heyman, the Rangers, Cubs, Astros, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, and the Reds are also interested in his services.
With the high demand for Choo, I don’t expect the Yankees to pursue Choo to the level that they would pursue bringing back Cano or signing players like Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka or McCann.