Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Market demand for Shin-Soo Choo is shrinking

At the beginning of the offseason, it was virtually a foregone conclusion that Shin-Soo Choo, with the help of master negotiator and agent Scott Boras, would land a multi-year contract in excess of $100 million through free agency. Although Choo could very well end up signing such a deal, the dominoes falling around him have to be somewhat concerning, especially considering there are fewer suitors now than there were just a few days ago.

Simply put, the market for Choo is surprisingly dwindling. The New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Detroit Tigers each entered the offseason as prime landing spots for the former Reds outfielder, who finished second in the league in on-base percentage last season. But just a mere 10 days into December, those big market clubs may be out of the running already, despite the fact that Choo remains the top free agent available.

The Yankees have already spent considerable cash in the signings of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. So they have no further need to work with Boras on a contract for Choo.

Meanwhile, the Tigers agreed to a deal with free agent outfielder Rajai Davis Tuesday morning, thus diminishing their odds of heavily pursuing Choo as well.

Oh, and the Rangers? Apparently, Texas feels as though Choo is going to be out of their price range, and may look to re-sign Nelson Cruz, instead.

The same situation goes for the Mariners after ponying up $240 million to Robinson Cano. They might not even have enough to pay their electric bill once all is said and done (joking).

Now, the Arizona Diamondbacks are rumored to be the top suitor for Choo. The Diamondbacks are looking to inject some life into an apathetic fan base and declining attendance by making a big splash in free agency. One of the allures of signing with Arizona for Choo is the fact that he makes his offseason residence in the state. But like the Reds, the Diamondbacks are also strapped for cash, and many industry experts suggest they don't have the means to satisfy the demands set forth by Choo's agent. Additionally, there are rumblings at the time of this writing that Arizona may have a deal in place to acquire Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels. If they add Trumbo, there will no longer be a perceived need for Choo.

At this point, it is going to be extremely interesting to see how the bidding for Choo pans out. The Reds have maintained interest in bringing the left-hander back, but also realize how pricey it's going to be to make it happen. Choo is probably still out of the financial reach of Cincinnati. However, the latest moves, signings, and developments certainly make Cincy's outside shot at re-signing Choo slightly more possible.

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