Pirates Have Shown Interest in Shin-Soo Choo, Who May Be Going to the Reds

An interesting note from Jayson Stark today:

That four team deal seems dead, considering James Shields has already been traded. Shields was one of the big names mentioned in the trade, and was just dealt to the Royals. The Indians were one of the four teams rumored to be involved with the discussions.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the Pirates linked to Choo. We heard it over the summer, and the expected price for Choo was pretty high. Choo is under team control for one more season, and MLBTR estimates his 2013 contract at $7.9 M. His trade value is a bit difficult to calculate. We have the years of control and estimated salaries, but coming up with the WAR number is tough.

Choo had a 2.6 WAR in 2012 and a 1.5 WAR in 2011. If we go with the 2.6, he’s got a $5.3 M trade value, which is a Grade B hitting prospect. However, Choo had a 5.1 WAR in 2009 and a 6.1 WAR in 2010. Going with the 5.1 WAR gives him a $17.8 M trade value, which would be a top 26-50 hitting or pitching prospect. Either one would be a lot for the Pirates to deal for one year of Choo.

It’s interesting that the Pirates would still be looking at him. They’ve got Starling Marte, Travis Snider, Jose Tabata, and Alex Presley in the outfield next year, with Marte and Snider looking like the favorites for the starting jobs. It seemed like the interest in Choo would have been over after they added Snider for Brad Lincoln over the summer.

UPDATE 3:59 PM: Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Cincinnati Reds are deep in talks for Choo. To get an idea of the price for Choo, the Reds would be sending Drew Stubbs and shortstop Didi Gregorius, and would receive one other player. Stubbs still has three years of control remaining. He was a 1.3 WAR player in 2012, a 2.6 in 2011, and a 4.0 in 2010. Seems like a pretty steep price for one year of Choo, although we don’t know all of the details. For the Pirates, this means they’re probably not dealing for Choo, but that he’ll probably be playing in the NL Central next year.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • BuccoMike

    total all 4 years out- 15.3 / 4 = 3.8 war roughly . Contract year seems to be about right. What is that about B to B+ level prospect and a C+ ?

  • Kevin Creagh

    A weighted average of the past 3 years, using a 5-3-1 for 2012, 2011, 2010 yields a 2.6 WAR/average. Coincidentally, also his 2012 WAR, so a $5.3M trade value.

    This may be a case where the Indians would want a ML player, such as Presley or Tabata, back in return.

  • Ecbucs

    so is Choo’s value dropping as we get closer to season as is Hanrahan’s?

    • Kevin Creagh

      In a way, yes, because of the new CBA ruling on extending qualifying offers to free agents after a season.

      Under the new CBA, a player must be with his team the whole season in order for that team to potentially offer the 1 year $13.3M qualifying offer to receive a draft pick if that player leaves via free agency. So a team can no longer trade for a player in August and then collect a draft pick by extending a qual offer.

  • vabarletta

    So what would be the equivalent to the Pirates for Stubbs and Gregorius? Tabata and Mercer/DArnaud or Harrison?
    I think I would do it, I like Choo even for one year…and mark my words, if he goes to the Reds he is going to kill the Pirates next season.

    • Tim Williams

      That wouldn’t be the equivalent. I don’t think the Pirates have an equivalent to Gregorius. Mercer, d’Arnaud, and Harrison are more bench players than starting options. Stubbs is better than Tabata.

      • jalcorn

        Oh disagree, Stubbs is not good. The K rate is now over 30% with few walks, hiw wRC+ was 64 last year, that’s Barmes territory. He will not last long K’ing this much, particularly losing Great American Ballpark as a home field. Tabata’s wRC+ for his career is 99, Stubbs’ is 88.

        • Tim Williams

          You’re only looking at the offense. Stubbs can play CF and has good numbers there. Tabata is more of a corner outfielder. Looking at the overall picture, Tabata’s best year was a 2.2 WAR in 2010, and that’s been unmatched (he was 1.0 and -0.3 the next two years). The worst year for Stubbs was a 1.3 WAR last year.

          • beatembuccos21

            I agree with Tim 100%. Stubbs is a superior player compared to Tabata. The Bucs don’t have a Stubbs/Gregorius combo. If the Pirates had Gregorius, I think he’d be the starting SS and not Barmes.

  • Matthew Charles

    Seems like the reds are giving up a lot for Choo, no?

    • beatembuccos21

      I think the Reds are trading from strength. It might be giving up a lot, but Choo replaces Stubbs and they are in decent enough shape at SS with Cozart on the team and Sliding Billy Hamilton rising quickly (assuming he sticks at SS). Choo in CF would mean above average offensive players at six of eight starting spots with Heisey off the bench. If Choo plays well, I think Jocketty tries to sign him as an FA and if not, Ryan LaMarre might be ready by mid-2014. Plus I figure the catching tandem out of ST is Hanigan/Navarro which is better offensively than Hanigan/Mesoraco. IMHO if this happens, the Reds have to be considered a strong favorite to repeat as NL Central champs (which they might be already regardless).

      • Matt Beam

        The Reds also won’t be shy about promoting Billy Hamilton in 2014 to play CF if he shows that he can continue to hit MiLB pitching this year while making the transition from SS

  • Ecbucs

    the Reds were a strong team last year and have worked to make the team look better (at least on paper) for 2013. Someday the time will be right for the Bucs to make a bold move like this.

  • Sean Matthews

    Choo is gonna lead to a lot of 1st inning headaches for us fans for 13 games this year

  • Matt Beam

    So for all those making a big deal out of Trevor Bauer beating Gerrit Cole to the big leagues, what do you make of the D-Backs shipping him to the Indians for a LH reliever and a couple of B/C level prospects?

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