Posts Tagged ‘Shin-Soo Choo’


When you traditionally think of a leftfielder, the first though is most likely overwhelming power. The names of Bonds, Williams and more recently, Belle jump ahead of the pack, however, the today’s game features a more overall balance of producers at the position, more in the vein of Musial or Ramirez from days past. It is a position with some elite line drive hitters, and run creators that do so not just by hitting the ball over the fence, but by destroying outfield alleys as just as much as giving souvenirs away.

The grouping in left is also undergoing a change as well, with two perennials at the position in Ryan Braun and Carlos Gonzalez manning new positions for the upcoming season. Also, there is a new addition to the Rangers lineup that will impact the rankings as well. Regardless, it is a unique mix of producers, that is so balanced across the board that the same ten players could be picked again next season and for the most part, come across in a completely different order, yet still be justified in their standing.

Here are the top 10 players of the day in the outfield corner on the left corner of the field…

10. Mark Trumbo, Diamondbacks: GM Kevin Towers made it a point to add more non-Goldschmidt based pop to his lineup, and he made a solid choice. Trumbo has hit 29, 32 and 34 home runs his first three seasons, while continually climbing his RBI total each campaign as well.

9. Brett Gardner, Yankees: An elite defender and presence on the basepaths, he led the AL in triples a year ago and has stolen 40 bases in two of his last three full seasons. Another centerfielder playing left, he routinely makes the difficult look easy in the outfield.

8. Josh Hamilton, Angels: He had his worst season last summer, seeing his full-season numbers drop across the board. However, he hit 43 home runs just two years ago and in September of last year, the ice finally cracked, as he finished the year with a .323 average.

7. Starling Marte, Pirates: He’s a centerfielder forced into a left fielder’s role due to his MVP counterpart to the side of him. However, the rangy and athletic 25-year-old ran up 41 stolen bases and 10 triples in his first year as a full-time starter.


6. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics: He took the Home Run Derby by storm, rapping moonshot after moonshot out of Citi Field, showing the elite power that he uses to make even the massive o.Co Coliseum look small.

5. Justin Upton, Braves: He shot out of a cannon in 2013 like a ‘bat’ out of hell (literally). And while he slowed down considerably, he still finished with 27 home runs and 70 RBI in his Atlanta debut. The talent package keeps coming in flashes, but few are capable of more than he is.

4. Bryce Harper, Nationals: While he has to continue to reel in his effort some to preserve himself, when he’s is all the way there, few are more exciting than Harper. The 21-year-old already has  42 career homers and has topped 20 doubles, 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases in each of his first two seasons—and at ages when most players are in Single or Double A.

3. Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers: He will play his third outfield spot in as many years in his third home in just as many as well. In his one season visit to the National League, he finished second in on-base percentage, where he reached .423% of the time. He versatile Korean has career averages over the past two seasons of 38 doubles, 18 homers, 20 steals and 98 runs scored.


2. Alex Gordon, Royals: He is by and far the best defensive left-fielder in the game, winner of the past two Gold Gloves for his field exploits, and sporting a gaudy 34 outfield assists since 2012. He is one year removed from an AL-best 51 doubles season and has topped 20 homers and 80 RBI two of the last three seasons.

1. Matt Holliday, Cardinals: He’s been one of the most consistent hitters in the game over his career, and is the hammer in the Cardinals balanced offering. While his defense is taking some noticeable steps back, he makes up for it has a line drive, run producing regular. 2013 marked the eighth straight year he offered at least a .295 average, 30 plus doubles and 20 plus home runs.


Just A Bit Outside: Domonic Brown, Curtis Granderson, Daniel Nava


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Late December is usually a slow period in the MLB winter, and this year mostly has been no exception. Bullpens have been filled out, lineups made complete and the table has been set for the grand finale that is the January that sets the stage for the spring behind it. The major exception this December has been the wait for the top remaining hitter to declare, as well as the foreign property that is Masahiro Tanaka to have his future decided….which ultimately leads to determining the future of more than half of the MLB clubs remaining dollars.

While Tanaka’s availability is finally eminent, there is one team that will likely not be in that pursuit – the Texas Rangers. But only because they made the major move that they have been needing to make to bring it all back together for over a year now. Ironically enough, via the addition of an intriguing player that does just a bit of everything well…

Here’s more on that move, as well as the remaining recent moves from the free agent pool….

3. Shin-Soo Choo-Outfielder-31 Years Old-2013 Team: Cincinnati Reds

Signed: Texas Rangers—7 years, $130 million

The Rangers and Choo went back and forth for over a month on him landing there, which especially took off after Jacoby Ellsbury filled a similar vacancy in New York. Yet, it came to be clear that Arlington is where Choo wanted to land the most, and it looks to be a mutually beneficial marriage looking ahead.

The Rangers lineup rebuild will benefit from the versatile Choo, who’s balanced offering of talents (a 162-game average spread of .289/.389/.465, along with 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 37 doubles for his career) makes him equally useful batting anywhere  between 1-3. Andrus can stay at leadoff or drop to the 2 spot, or Choo can return to the third hole, allowing Prince Fielder to stay at cleanup and have Adrian Beltre hit fifth, which is best for him. Overall, the Rangers final signing made every part of the team better, which is a rarity, but is why it was worth $130 million.

29. Joaquin Benoit-Relief Pitcher-36 Years Old-2013 Team: Detroit Tigers

Signed: San Diego Padres—2 years, $15.5 million

Bullpen depth has long been the strength of the Padres, but after dealing setup man Luke Gregorson that strength took a hit and necessitated adding Benoit. He spent the last few years as a varied arm in the backend of the Detroit pen, and over the past four years, he’s averaged better than nine strikeouts per nine innings.

42. Chris Perez-Relief Pitcher-28 Years Old-2013 Team: Cleveland Indians

Signed: Los Angeles Dodgers—1 year, $2.3 million

Perez’s career took a spin last year due to the marijuana case that befell him, and the side effects carried over to the field. On the heels of that season that saw him lose his closer role and post career highs (or lows), he’ll head to LA as a part of their ensemble of hard throwing closer-types in a demo season for another run at landing a closer job next winter.

43. Raul Ibanez-Designated Hitter-42 Years Old-2013 Team: Seattle Mariners

Signed: Los Angeles Angels—1 year, $2.75 million

After moving out Mark Trumbo, the Angels needed to replace his power potential in the lineup and Ibanez fits the bill. A quick rental bat that has continued to show he’s got some powder left in his cannon: he tied Ted Williams for the most home runs in a season, post-40th birthday.

51. Scott Downs-Relief Pitcher-38 Years Old-2013 Teams: Los Angeles Angels/Atlanta Braves

Signed: Chicago White Sox—1 year, $4 million

The Sox added a much needed left-handed presence to their bullpen mix, and caught a decent break with Downs. He struggled some once switching the National League, but overall finished with his fourth career season with an ERA under 2.00 during his American League run in Anaheim.

63. Jose Veras-Relief Pitcher-33 Years Old-2013 Teams: Houston Astros/Detroit Tigers

Signed: Chicago Cubs—1 year, $4 million

The Cubs picked up the former Astros closer-by-default to take the first swing at the role for them to start the year off. Pedro Strop will be in the mix as well, but Veras (21 of 25 saves converted, .199 averaged against) has the edge coming in.

For more on the winter’s work to prep the MLB summer, follow me in real-time on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.


The MLB Winter Meetings are in full swing in Orlando as this is written and as you read it. And the moves are coming in quick, and the rumors are spreading like oxygen. There’s not much hype to bring, only what the rumor mill is spinning. And with that, here is the buzz on the streets from Florida as the sun is getting set this today.

  • While the free agent game is developing, the trade market has been the pot that every one is waiting to boil over on the stove. David Price is the hottest name, and the Mariners, Rangers and Dodgers are stated as being the hottest in pursuit of his services. The price in return for him is a wealth of young prospects, of the vein that the Rays build their team around, and the availability of Taijan Walker could either make or break the entire scene around him.
  • The Dodgers have reportedly had discussions about the availability of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier as well.
  • Justin Masterson is reportedly being floated by the Indians, as he entering the last year of his contract.
  • As of last night, the Rangers and Shin-Soo Choo were engaged in talks that were moving in positive direction. The Diamondbacks also are showing interest, but are exploring a trade to acquire Mark Trumbo as well to amplify their corner outfield production.
  • The Orioles have said they will not pursue any of the high priced arms on the market, but are not opposed to giving out a multi-year contract for an arm.
  • The Brewers, who were stated as having interest in Logan Morrison, are instead working towards resigning Corey Hart
  • The relief pitcher market is starting to shake out, as teams with a ninth inning need are beginning to show themselves more clearly. The Cubs, Rockies, Indians, Astros, Orioles and potentially Yankees are all in the mix.
  • Bronson Arroyo has been one the most discussed names in the last few weeks, and is nearing a decision. His balance of carrying a short-term contract, along with no Draft Pick compensation makes him a perfect ad for both big and small market clubs looking to boost their rotation.

Here is the final rankings board of the winter of the free agent market. From here on out, I’ll continue to do ‘Cut The Check’ updates on signings and outcomes, but this is about as deep of a relevant board that remains. Here is where the kids in left in the pool stand:

  1. Shin-Soo Choo-RF: Rangers, Mariners, Tigers, Diamondbacks
  2. Matt Garza-RHP: Yankees, Twins, Angels,
  3. Ubaldo Jimenez-RHP: Yankees, Angels, Astros
  4. Nelson Cruz-RF/DH: Rangers, Mariners, Orioles, Royals
  5. Ervin Santana-RHP: Angels, Yankees, Astros
  6. Masahiro Tanaka-RHP: Yankees, Dodgers, Japan
  7. Stephen Drew-SS: Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets
  8. Grant Balfour-RHP: Indians, Yankees, Rockies, Tigers, Rays
  9. Kendrys Morales-1B: Mariners, Indians, Mets
  10. Fernando Rodney-RHP: Indians, Rays, Cubs
  11. Omar Infante-2B: Yankees, Royals
  12. Joaquin Benoit-RHP: Mariners, Phillies, Tigers, Orioles
  13. A.J. Burnett-RHP: Pirates, Orioles
  14. Bronson Arroyo-RHP: Angels, Pirates, Twins, Giants, Phillies
  15. Bartolo Colon-RHP: Marlins, Angels, Mets
  16. Jesse Crain-RHP: Rockies, Cubs
  17. Corey Hart-1B/RF: Brewers, Mariners, Mets, Pirates
  18. James Loney-1B: Rays, Rockies, Pirates
  19. Michael Morse-OF: Giants
  20. Chris Perez-RHP: Astros, Athletics, Mets
  21. Raul Ibanez-DH: Yankees, Orioles
  22. John Axford-RHP: Cubs, Orioles
  23. Boone Logan-LHP: Nationals, Yankees
  24. Gavin Floyd-RHP: Twins, Orioles
  25. Jason Kubel-OF/DH:
  26. Scott Downs-LHP: Nationals
  27. J.P. Howell-LHP: Nationals
  28. Scott Baker-RHP: Cubs
  29. Jose Veras-RHP: Rockies
  30. Garrett Jones-1B: Signed w/ Marlins (2 yrs, $7.25 million)
  31. Paul Maholm-LHP:
  32. Jason Hammel-RHP: Giants
  33. Juan Uribe-3B: Dodgers
  34. Chris Capuano-LHP: Twins
  35. Joba Chamberlain-RHP: Royals, Braves, Giants, Astros
  36. Francisco Rodriguez-RHP:
  37. Mark Ellis-2B: Orioles, Rays
  38. Eric O’Flaherty-LHP: Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies
  39. John Buck-C: Nationals
  40. Rajai Davis-OF: Twins, Orioles, Tigers


For what’s cookin’ on the stove in real-time, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

The Tigers filled one of their long-standing glaring needs with Joe Nathan earlier today.

The Tigers filled one of their long-standing glaring needs with Joe Nathan earlier today.

Here is the latest of the greatest around the rumor mill for the current ranks. Before the next Cut The Check signings recap drops, here is where it all stands right now, headed into this weekend’s MLB Winter Meetings, the busiest and most active stretch of transactions of the baseball year.

  • The Yankees and Robinson Cano appear to have reached a standoff, and it is one that is separated by about $80 million mile markers. This is the type of divide that leaves no other choice but for other teams to enter the fray, and by the looks of it, the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals could enter the Winter Meetings with a true, legit shot at landing baseball’s premier second baseman.
  • The outfield scene is starting to shift some. Carlos Beltran has been the most widely rumored and courted property available, and he has already received a three-year offer that is touching nearly $50 million from one of his suitors, that is yet to be revealed. Meanwhile, the scene for Jacoby Ellsbury has heated up over the last week, with the Red Sox reemerging as candidates to retain him, and the Yankees weighing him as a serious option too. Shin-Soo Choo has remained a hot property, but there is a link between several of the same locations for him, Ellsbury and Nelson Cruz. The first of which signs likely sees the others follow suit with a similarly interest team that lost out on another.
  • The Yankees have begun to look to work on their rotation issues as well, and have extended an offer to Hiroki Kuroda.
  • The Twins could still add another arm after Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, in their search to amend one of baseball’s worst units in 2013
  • There are a few teams that are waiting out the scene to see who emerges after the dust settles on the big tag players available over the next few weeks. The teams that are primed to get involved at the point are led by the Mets, Rockies and Phillies, all of which could emerge with some substantial acquisitions at a more reasonable cost for their respective situations.

But with that said, here is the current lay of the land on the rumor mill, as this is the last update before the Winter Meetings this weekend start to clear off the chalkboard in a major way. The next update will have new names inserted in from the non-tendered players.

  1. Robinson Cano-2B: Yankees, Mariners, Nationals
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury-CF: Red Sox, Yankees, Mariners, Cubs
  3. Shin-Soo Choo-RF: Yankees, Rangers, Mariners, Reds, Tigers
  4. Matt Garza-RHP: Yankees, Twins, Angels, Orioles, Nationals
  5. Carlos Beltran-RF/DH: Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Mariners, Indians, Reds
  6. Ubaldo Jimenez-RHP: Yankees, Nationals, Angels
  7. Nelson Cruz-RF/DH: Rangers, Mets, Mariners, A’s, Orioles
  8. Mike Napoli-1B: Red Sox, Rockies
  9. Ervin Santana-RHP: Angels, Yankees, Twins, Royals
  10. Masahiro Tanaka-RHP: Yankees, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Japan
  11. Stephen Drew-SS: Dodgers, Nationals, Mets, Yankees, Red Sox
  12. Curtis Granderson-LF: Mets, Yankees, Cubs, White Sox
  13. Hiroki Kuroda-RHP: Yankees, Angels, Japan
  14. Joe Nathan-RHP: Signed w/ Tigers (2 yrs/TBA)
  15. Grant Balfour-RHP: Yankees, Rockies, Tigers, Rays
  16. Kendrys Morales-1B: Mariners, White Sox, Indians, Mets
  17. Ricky Nolasco-RHP: Signed w/ Twins (4 years, $49 million)
  18. Fernando Rodney-RHP: Indians, Rays, Cubs
  19. Omar Infante-2B: Cubs, Orioles, Reds, Yankees
  20. Jarrod Saltalamacchia-C: Signed w/ Marlins (3 years, $22 million)
  21. Joaquin Benoit-RHP: Phillies, Tigers
  22. Brian Wilson-RHP: Dodgers
  23. Edward Mujica-RHP: Phillies, Angels, Tigers, Yankees
  24. A.J. Burnett-RHP: Pirates
  25. Nate McLouth-LF: Orioles, Yankees
  26. Bronson Arroyo-RHP: Angels, Twins, Giants, Phillies
  27. Bartolo Colon-RHP: Marlins, Angels
  28. Scott Kazmir-LHP: Signed w/ Athletics (2 yrs, $22 million)
  29. Jesse Crain-RHP: Red Sox, Rockies, Cubs
  30. Corey Hart-1B/RF: Brewers, Mets, Pirates
  31. James Loney-1B: Rays, Rockies, Pirates
  32. Chris Perez-RHP: Astros, Athletics, Tigers
  33. Raul Ibanez-DH: Yankees
  34. Boone Logan-LHP: Yankees
  35. Gavin Floyd-RHP: Twins, Orioles
  36. Jason Kubel-OF/DH:
  37. Michael Morse-OF:
  38. Dioner Navarro-C: Signed w/ Blue Jays (2 yrs, $8 million)
  39. Justin Morneau-1B: Rockies
  40. Scott Downs-LHP:
  41. A.J. Pierzynski-C: Signed w/ Red Sox (1 yr, $8.25 million)
  42. Matt Albers-RHP:
  43. Scott Feldman-RHP: Orioles
  44. J.P. Howell-LHP:
  45. Ryan Vogelsong-RHP: Resigned w/ Giants (1 yr, $3 million)
  46. Rafael Furcal-SS: Mets, Royals
  47. Scott Baker-RHP: Cubs,
  48. Jose Veras-RHP:
  49. Garrett Jones-OF (new, non-tendered):
  50. Jason Hammel-RHP: Giants
  51. Kevin Gregg-RHP:
  52. Juan Uribe-3B: Dodgers
  53. Chris Capuano-LHP: Twins
  54. Paul Konerko-1B: White Sox, Retirement
  55. Barry Zito-LHP:
  56. Kelly Johnson-2B: Yankees,
  57. Joba Chamberlain-RHP: Royals, Braves, Giants, Astros
  58. Phil Hughes-RHP: Signed w/ Twins (3 yrs, $24 million)
  59. Francisco Rodriguez-RHP:
  60. Mark Ellis-2B: Orioles


The Awards have been handed out, the trophies laid down and the weather’s turned. This would seem to mean that baseball season has come to close….but everybody should know that never really happens. All the fall means is that the next season is underway, and its already getting into full swing with the free agent, Hot Stove bonanza already getting under way.

Its where the competitors get their fillings and the have-not’s look for their facelifts. Everybody (except for maybe the Marlins, Astros, Twins and of course the Cubs) has a shot still, and that is what makes Stove season so great. And while it is still mostly in the negotiations part of the year, its a prime time to shift the next season here in the CHEAP SEATS into gear.

This is not the first edition of the Free Agent rankings and countdown here this season, as that was intro’d a few months ago. But a lot has changed since then: stock rose via the playoffs, some players decided to stay home, the international kids jumped into the pool and the market began to set the value for what was available. Alas, the purpose of this list is based on how I see the crop of available free agents, based on talent, ranking in comparison to positional value, demand and age, as well a pure ranking of skill on top. It is not an exact science, but it gets the job done. Along with this, there will a breakdown of positions along the way, as well as the ‘Cut The Check’ sessions which evaluate each signing through the winter. Players such as Hunter Pence, who part of the class in the original countdown, but signed before the season ended will not be included.

And with that, here’s it is, the Top 75 players available in the free world today, via current rank. Some have signed already, but will be reflected here for purposes of showcasing the full group. In the first edition of Cut The Check, their signings will be recapped and accessed, and reranks will occur.

The teams next to the players reflect teams that are rumored or have currently expressed interest in each player, via news outlets and sourcing (not sources, I cite those)…

  1. Robinson Cano-2B: Yankees, Nationals
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury-CF: Red Sox, Cubs, Giants, Mariners
  3. Shin-Soo Choo-RF: Yankees, Rangers, Reds, Red Sox, Tigers
  4. Brian McCann-C: Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, Angels
  5. Matt Garza-RHP: Yankees, Blue Jays, Angels, Giants, Orioles
  6. Carlos Beltran-RF/DH: Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Mariners
  7. Ubaldo Jimenez-RHP: Yankees, Giants
  8. Nelson Cruz-RF/DH: Mariners, A’s,
  9. Mike Napoli-1B: Red Sox, Rangers, Rockies
  10. Ervin Santana-RHP: Angels, Yankees, Twins, Royals
  11. Jose Dariel Abreu-1B: Signed w/ White Sox (6 yrs/$68 million)
  12. Masahiro Tanaka-RHP: Yankees, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Japan
  13. Stephen Drew-SS: Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees
  14. Curtis Granderson-LF: White Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Mets
  15. Tim Lincecum-RHP: Signed w/ Giants (2 yrs/$35 million)
  16. Hiroki Kuroda-RHP: Yankees, Angels, Japan
  17. Dan Haren-RHP: Yankees, Twins, Pirates, Cubs,
  18. Joe Nathan-RHP: Tigers, Yankees, Angels
  19. Grant Balfour-RHP: Yankees, Rockies, Tigers, Rays
  20. Kendrys Morales-1B: Mariners, White Sox, Indians, Mets
  21. Ricky Nolasco-RHP: Twins, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers
  22. Jhonny Peralta-SS/3B: Mariners, Mets, Pirates, Yankees
  23. Marlon Byrd-OF: Signed w/ Phillies (2 yrs/$16 million)
  24. Fernando Rodney-RHP: Indians, Rays, Cubs
  25. Omar Infante-2B: Tigers
  26. Jarrod Saltalamacchia-C: Red Sox, White Sox, Twins
  27. Tim Hudson-RHP: Signed w/ Giants (2 yrs/$23 million)
  28. Josh Johnson-RHP: Royals, Rangers, Giants, Padres
  29. Joaquin Benoit-RHP: Phillies, Tigers
  30. Brian Wilson-RHP: Indians, Tigers, Rockies
  31. Edward Mujica-RHP: Phillies, Red Sox, Tigers, Yankees
  32. Alexander Guerrero-2B/SS: Signed w/ Dodgers (4 yrs/$28 million)
  33. Carlos Ruiz-C: Resigned w/ Phillies (3 yrs/$26 million)
  34. A.J. Burnett-RHP: Pirates
  35. Nate McLouth-LF: Orioles
  36. Bronson Arroyo-RHP: Twins, Giants, Phillies, Reds, Dodgers, Angels
  37. Bartolo Colon-RHP: Athletics, Marlins, Braves
  38. Scott Kazmir-LHP: Twins, Orioles, Mets
  39. Jesse Crain-RHP: Red Sox, Rockies, Cubs
  40. Corey Hart-1B/RF: Brewers, Mets, Pirates
  41. James Loney-1B: Rays, Rockies
  42. Chris Perez-RHP: Astros, Athletics, Tigers
  43. Raul Ibanez-DH:
  44. Boone Logan-LHP:
  45. Gavin Floyd-RHP:
  46. Jason Kubel-OF/DH:
  47. Michael Morse-OF:
  48. Joe Smith-RHP: Phillies
  49. Dioner Navarro-C: Yankees, Phillies, Mets
  50. Justin Morneau-1B: Rockies
  51. Scott Downs-LHP:
  52. A.J. Pierzynski-C: Twins, White Sox, Phillies
  53. Matt Albers-RHP:
  54. Scott Feldman-RHP: Orioles
  55. Javier Lopez-LHP: Giants, Yankees
  56. Jason Hammel-RHP: Giants,
  57. Mark Ellis-2B:
  58. Jason Vargas-LHP:
  59. J.P. Howell-LHP:
  60. Ryan Vogelsong-RHP: Giants
  61. Rafael Furcal-SS: Mets, Royals
  62. Scott Baker-RHP: Cubs
  63. Jose Veras-RHP:
  64. Kevin Gregg-RHP:
  65. Juan Uribe-3B: Dodgers
  66. LaTroy Hawkins-RHP: Signed w/ Colorado Rockies (1 yr/$2.5 million)
  67. Paul Konerko-1B: White Sox, Retirement
  68. Barry Zito-LHP:
  69. Kelly Johnson-2B: Yankees,
  70. Geovany Soto-C: Signed w/ Texas Rangers (1 yr/$3.05 million)
  71. Rajai Davis-OF:
  72. Brendan Ryan-SS: Resigned w/ Yankees (1 yr/$2 million
  73. Joba Chamberlain-RHP: Royals, Braves, Giants, Astros
  74. Chris Young-OF: Mets, Red Sox, Astros
  75. Phil Hughes-RHP: Twins, Royals, Padres, Giants

For more in real-time rumoring and winter randomness, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan. Also, follow on Facebook and Google Plus as well.