The decision to acquire Shin-Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians this past winter has proven to be one of Walt Jocketty's best moves as acting general manager of the Reds.
Choo has done everything Cincinnati could have hoped for in his debut season in the Queen City. He has made the transition from right field to center field beautifully, adapted extremely well to hitting leadoff (.425 OBP), and by all accounts has been a great influence in the clubhouse. Unfortunately, professional baseball is a business, and Choo's first season in a Reds uniform will likely be his last.
The 31-year-old Korean is set to become a free agent at the end of the year and looks to finally cash in on his recent success by way of a lucrative contract. His cause will certainly be aided by baseball's most notorious negotiator, prolific sports agent Scott Boras, whose ability to sucker teams into offering much larger deals than they are comfortable with has become legendary.
By default, Choo's production in 2013, coupled with a mediocre payroll already made inflexible with the salaries owed to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, has essentially priced the Reds out of serious contention to keep his services. But that doesn't mean the club won't try and make an offer, though. The sad reality is that if an offer is made, it will probably be much lower than offers made by competing teams, namely the New York Mets.
According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets have serious interest in signing Choo this offseason. They are enamored with his propensity to get on base, ability to drive the ball over the fence, and adaptability on defense. If the Mets did sign Choo, he would likely move back to right field for them, as rookie Juan Lagares has shown great potential in center field this season.
The Mets aren't the only team interested in Choo, though. The Cubs, Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox reportedly have interest, as well. This shouldn't come as too much of a shock as each of those teams have plenty of cash to throw around if needed.
Nevertheless, it will be really interesting to see which city Choo winds up in when all is said and done. I would be pleasantly surprised if that city wound up being Cincinnati, but I just don't think it can work, financially. But then again, very few people thought the Reds would be able to keep both Phillips and Votto around this long, but they managed to pull it off.