Pirates Inquired about Shin-Soo Choo

According to Rob Biertempel on Twitter (via MLBTR), the Indians and Pirates have discussed the particulars of a trade for Shin-Soo Choo.  Biertempel speculates that the Pirates would have to part with Starling Marte to make the trade happen.

Choo has one year of team control left in 2013 before heading to free agency as a Scott Boras client.  The 30 year-old Choo has a .295/.382/.489 triple slash line this year with 12 HR’s.  Choo has the ability to draw a walk and get on base, which is still a sore point even in the resurgent Pirate offense of June/July.  Choo makes $4.9M in 2012 and can expect to receive probably $7.5-$8M in 2013.

Not only would the Pirates get a non-rental, but they would also receive a potential comp pick should they offer arbitration after 2013 and Choo turns it down.

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Michael Coyle

I just don’t understand all this confidence in Marte. Choo is a great player who is a proven big leaguer. Screw Starling Marte. Anyone who would rather keep an unproven 24 year old prospect over a proven player with a near .300 career average doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Pence or Choo put us over the top. There is no future the time to make a big move is NOW

F Lang

Pence would be great. But he will cost a lot.


Pence would be a terrible acquisition for the Pirates at any price. Pence, like Justin Upton, Shane Victorino and several other right handed hitters mentioned in rumors so far, simply lack the power to overcome the dimensions of PNC Park which hurts all but the most powerful right handed hitters.

The Pirates need left handed power and walks and if you see Pence, Upton or Victorino in a Pirates uniform soon you might as well start dreaming of what might have been.


Such a simplistic mindset. Of course Choo is better than Marte right now, but the trade shouldn’t be evaluated as Choo versus Marte in a vacuum. It should be evaluated as a year and a half of Choo versus 6 years of Marte (3 of them for league minimum).


Such an evaluation could only be made in hindsight with Marte’s production over those years used to evaluate him.

At this moment we know what Choo is and what he’d bring to the team while we can only speculate at what Marte will be over the next six years.

The trade might be a year and a half of Choo and two playoff appearance at the cost of what ends up being a 6 years of something from Marte, nothing from Marte or something in between.

Right now an objective assessment of Marte’s future in the majors says it’s more likely to end up like Brad Eldred’s than Andrew McCutchen’s and for the same reason: inability to control the strike zone. Eldred’s home runs were a sight to behold, just as Marte’s triples are exciting to see but when they amount to 1/10th of the outs they’re producing they’re not helping the offense.

F Lang

Choo hitting .180 vs lefties this year.


How about Gregory Polanco or Tony Sanchez and your choice of Taillon or Cole? I’m willing to sign on the dotted line for that deal. 🙂


How about you share some of what you’ve been smoking? It must be amazing.


That’s WAY too much for Choo. That’d be the worst trade of all time.


I know that it is……I was just trying to talk everyone down from the ledge regarding Marte. 🙂

Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel

Has to be someone other than Marte. I’ve invested too much emotionally into Starling. Ok, seriously I’m not doing it unless it involves a prospect other than Marte. For me the idea is to have Marte/Cutch in left and Choo in right. Jones becomes a fixture at first. Casey to the bench. Marte drops in the order. Choo bats lead off at least for now. The outfield is better and offensively the team is better. Trading Marte for Choo improves the club short term but doesn’t help the club in the overall picture.


Marte is a grossly over rated prospect who may or many not develop the power required to over look his lack of plate discipline and penchant for making outs. Whether he develops or not should be of no interest to the Pirates as they are in a playoff race NOW and can ill afford to wait around to see what, if anything, Marte might eventually bring to the effort.

Choo is an established hitter in the American League who walks a ton, hits for power and best of all hits from the left side making him an ideal fit for the Pirates and PNC Park.

Getting to the playoffs is the goal of every major league team and if you have a chance to acquire a player who CAN help you do it and you don’t do it because you’re afraid to part with a player who MIGHT help you do it some time down the road then you’re not ever going to be a serious contender in the majors.

If by the second week of August Marte is still parked a top the Pirates’
line up refusing to take a walk and making out at a ridiculous rate the
Pirate will likely fall from the race shortly afterward.

Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel

Trading Marte for Choo may make you better today, but it’s not enough, because the move still keeps Jones in the outfield and McGehee at first. You still have a defensive liability in the outfield and an offensive liability at first. If you want to improve the team, you need a solid offensive contributor in the outfield added to Marte and Cutch. Jones moves to first ans Casey to the bench. Otherwise, you’re stuck with Presley out there who isn’t getting it done with the bat.


i agree with you marte means too much to this organization..he is to serve as the example of our progress in latin america…and we have him for this year and SIX seasons…people are so near-sighted…imagine cutch and marte dominating the NL for SIX years!!!! CHOO is two months and ONE YEAR!


You can imagine them dominating all you please but based on Marte’s unimpressive minor league efforts it’s still an open question as to whether he’ll develop into a competent major league hitter at all, let alone the player you’re describing.

His refusal to take a walk, habit of swinging at everything to the point of maintaining a ridiculous walk to strike out ratio and his demonstrated lack of consistent power to this point makes him a marginal prospect at this point. player with five years in the minors and 101 walks, 394 strike outs, 39 home runs in 1892 plate appearances is not a sure fire prospect no matter what the Pittsburgh sports media tells you.

Passing on a chance to make the playoff now on the hope Marte will still be in the majors five or six years from now let alone contributing to the Pirates in a meaningful way would be foolish.

Tim Williams

You’re using Marte’s career minor league numbers, which is very flawed. Most of those numbers tell about the player he was, not the player he is right now.


Of course they do and trying divine some value in player base on anything else precisely why the Pirates have struggled to produce their own major league hitting talent.

Marte’s walk rate and walk to strike out rate are very poor this season and only slightly changed from previous seasons and a strong indicator that he won’t make a smooth transition to the major leagues any time soon.

Just as Brad Eldred what happens to a hitter who maintains rates like these when they have to face the higher quality of major league pitching day in and day out. Marte may yet develop some of the skills he needs to succeed but there’s no guarantee he will and it’s not going to happen this season against those same major league pitchers.


and theres no guarantee that Marte puts up numbers anywhere near what Choo has put up: we’re talking about a decent outfielder who has some pop, good speed and great OBP. and hes not too old.
i understand not wanting to give up Marte, but what if hes no better than Presley?


Choo is better than Presley — a lot older too.


Right now Choo is better than Presley, Marte, every other Pirate outfielder not named McCutchen and every other major league outfielder that’s been mentioned in Pirate trade rumors to this point.

Now and the playoffs is what the Pirates should be concerned with because there’s no guarantee that Marte will develop into the player some think he will and even if he does there’s no guarantee the Pitching will be there when he does or that other factors including injuries not render such an outcome meaningful.

Playoffs, now, Marte for Choo is a very fair deal.


There is no guarantee the Pirates will make the post season this year with or without Choo. None.

F Lang

Choo is 30, Presley 27. Choo has a lot more mlb experience though. I think Presley is going to be a solid 4th OF because of his pop. The poor kid might as well swing at every outside pitch because the umpires are gouging him! Why are umpires so bad at calling the outside strike? If you can’t do it then get a camera and computer to call it for them. Seriously though, it is embarassing how many umps don’t have a clue what an outside strike or ball is. We just need someone better for the pennant race at he plate at an OF corner..


Presley, like many Pirates hitting prospects including Marte, does not have enough pop to make up for the fact that he can’t control the strike zone and makes far too many outs. That’s far to many outs to be considered a productive hitter anywhere in the lineup and far, FAR to many outs to be considered legitimate options at the lead off spot.


The Bucs would have to trade for Victorino and Choo to make a serious bid this year. Choo would be great but they still need a leadoff hitter.
The question becomes how many prospects do they want to give up? and are they willing to sign players like that to an extended contract because to give up a bunch of prospects for a one time shot may not be worth it.
Everybody has their own opinion on that but I would rather settle for 82 wins and third place than to gut the system and set the long term plan back a few years.

Lee Young

The Pirates have inquired about EVERY OFer in MLB. lol

I’ll get excited when a trade is actually made.

Ian Rothermund

Yeah, seriously, just because teams have “talked,” means very little. There are only 30 GM’s and teams in the game. “Talks,” like that can happen very quickly and all the time.


What about Marte and a low-to-mid-level prospect for Choo? The way I look at it, the Pirates would be thrilled if Marte developed into a player like Choo.


My guess is that it would take Marte and a major league reliever to land Choo and that’s would be a fair deal for the Pirates.

And the chances of Marte ever developing into a play like Choo are virtually non-existent. Not to say he can’t develop into a productive hitter at some point but Choo walks a ton, has consistent home run power and has excellent command of the hitting zone.

Marte to this point exhibits none of these qualities and his value is predicated on his ability to hit for high average and use his speed to stretch single into doubles and doubles into triples … something that is more difficult to do consistently in the majors and as players age and lose the speed.

He might figure out how to walk more, cut down his strike outs and hit for power but nothing so far suggests he will.


i agree with this.

John DiVito

Biertempel also said that Marte would need to be part of that deal. A 1 for 1 trade would make sense, right?

But, I don’t see how this helps us too much. Trading our current LF for a new one? We still have a hole at RF.


Ahhh, because you’d be replacing a succession of unproductive left fielders (including the Marte so far) with the very things the Pirates lineup needs – walks and left handed home run power.

Not only is Choo a significant upgrade over what the Pirates currently available in left field, the fact that he’d being moving from the American League to a National League team that plays in a park that favors left power guys, he’d probably increase his production significantly over what it is now.

If they make the trade for Choo the right field problem is quite solvable by moving Garrett Jones out there full time, maybe giving Harrison some starts there against lefties, then calling up Clement to platoon with McGehee at first.

These two lineups used the rest of the way would make the Pirates an offense threat to be reckoned with the rest of the way:

vs LHP vs RHP
McCutchen CF McCUtchen CF
McGehee 1B Walker 2B
Choo LF Choo LF
Alvarez 3B Alvarez 3B
Walker 2B Jones RF
Harrison RF Clement 1B
Barajas C McKenry C

That’s a playoff bound team gents and that is after all the goal here.

John DiVito

Three problems with your lineup… #1 and most glaring… McCutchen at leadoff, seriously? The most dangerous hitter in MLB right now and you want him guaranteed to have one at bat per game with no one on base… wow.

Second, Garrett Jones is NOT an adequate defensive RF. He needs to be platooning with McGehee at 1B.

Also, don’t give up on Marte after so few ABs. Don’t forget, he hit a HR in his first AB and has battled well so far. Also, his defense is excellent and would be tough to replace.


First, the lead off hitter on any team is also the hitter who is guaranteed to have the most plate appearances in any single game and over the course of an entire season.. so yeah based on that alone you would like you most productive player also be the player who’s going to get the greatest number opportunities to be productive. That said of course there are very productive hitters that wouldn’t be a good fit there but McCutchen isn’t one of them. He walks plenty, hits for high average and has the speed and base stealing skills that can be useful in the top spot.

Sure you’d guarantee he’s come to base once with nobody on base but with the current crop of players that’s been leading off that’s essentially the case anyway. But how nice would it be for the game to begin with a home run from his bat? Nice, but more importantly than that with his on base percentage and the walks McGehee and Walker accumulate when they hitting in the right spot in the order it would mean a power guy like Choo would come to bat in the first inning of every game with at least one guy on base 80% of the time, two guys on 60% of the time and with his own on base percentage create shocking amounts of opportunities for the number four hitter to have bases loaded nobody outs or two on and only one out. Here’s a lineup analyzing tool, plug in those four guys in the top three spots and look at the number of runs the team scores versus any other combination you can put in there with McCutchen hitting third and what the Pirates currently have.


The mathematical realities of having four guys with .380 or higher on base percentages hitting in the first three spots simply can’t be disputed. Those lineups would result in the Pirates beginning every game scoring at least one run the first inning in an overwhelming majority of games and that’s a nice way to start.

And I’m not giving up on Marte after so few bats, not discounting him at all. I’m not sold on him as a being an impact player now or in the future based on the large number of at bats he has in the minors and a team serious about making the play offs can ill afford to wait and see what their prospects are going to do at the major leagues.

There’s a time for calling up minor leaguers and giving them their chance and three games out of first heading to August is not the time.

Carl Reagle

Not sure how this helps us? Must be joking or something … Choo >>>> Marte


It puts a player who’s already better than everyone tried thus far in the lineup, one who walks and hits home runs, in a friendly park, and gives the Pirates the two things they need most.

The question you should be asking is how does keeping Marte and waiting to see if he’s ever going to learn to control the strike zone, take a walk or hit with enough power to make up for those weakness help them make the playoffs?


Choo can play LF as well as RF. Jones, however, is RF bound only.


That’s what I meant, but according to baseball-reference he plays RF more often.


because he has a good arm. he can handle LF in PNC Park just fine. Marte is probably the better defensive guy, but Choo is far superior offensively


I never claimed otherwise. I never said Choo couldn’t play LF in PNC Park, I was just telling the first guy that he can play RF.


I’d rather part with Presley and pieces from the minors.


well, then no Choo for You.


Exactly, who wouldn’t rather part with Presley, or Barmes or Tabata… but they have no value in a trade. The team is goign to have to give up something to get a player of Choo’s value.


I’m plenty good with that.

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