It's safe to say that Shin-Soo Choo has been every bit as good as the Reds hoped he would be when they acquired him in a three-team deal from the Cleveland Indians in December.
Choo has provided stability at the leadoff spot, batting .281 with a .416 on-base percentage, to go along with 16 home runs, 28 doubles, 14 stolen bases, and 40 RBI, allthewhile playing respectable defense in center field. Only teammate Joey Votto sports a higher on-base percentage for a National League hitter this year.
Unfortunately, Cincinnati may not get to enjoy Choo's services for much longer, though. The South Korean native is set to become a free agent this offseason and all indications are that he and his agent Scott Boras will demand big money, much more than the medium market Reds can offer.
So, where does that leave Choo in 2014? According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, the Cubs are an interested suitor for the left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder.
Citing "industry sources," Rooney wrote that the Cubs plan to make a serious run at Choo this winter. It's all part of Chicago's plan to compile a roster with more left-handed hitters and players with higher on-base percentages.
Here is an excerpt from Rooney's piece on Choo:
Choo would help across the board, even though he has performed significantly better against right-handers (.928 OPS) than left-handers (.671 OPS) in his career. He will turn 32 next summer. He spent significant time on the disabled list in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 with a series of injuries. Boras will gloss over those details while pushing his client toward the biggest deal.
Choo avoided two years of mandatory military service by helping South Korea win a gold medal at the Asian Games in 2010. He repaired his image after a 2011 DUI arrest while playing for the Cleveland Indians and has been described as a true professional and a good teammate. The Reds didn’t worry about a potential one-and-done player and traded for him believing he’d be the finishing piece for a World Series team.
The Reds are still hoping Choo is that final piece of a World Series puzzle. But it appears like that puzzle will have to come together this season if the Reds are going to do it with Choo. It's highly unlikely the club will be able to afford to bring the 31-year-old back to the Queen City beyond '13. And if the Cubs have their way, the Reds may just have to endure playing against him in the same division for years to come, instead.
H/T Trent C. Rosecrans