I wanted to update this post with two quick items that were reported in the last 24 hours.
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer who covers the Reds and has better intel than some of the speculation I’m seeing elsewhere (MetsBlog 4/$40), says that Choo’s strong season should put agent Scott Boras in a position to ask for at least a four-year, $60MM contract.
That’s a starting point and not an ending point.
Boras is also the agent for Jacoby Ellsbury. He’ll be very busy this offseason having two of the most sought after players on the market.
Based on the needs of the Mets and the strengths of the player, Heyman concludes that Choo looks like the biggest potential target for the Mets this winter. He cites that he’s an excellent corner outfielder with a big on-base percentage, making him a perfect fit.
He says that the Mets have discussed the Reds outfielder internally at length, and predicts Choo will be the biggest player on the Mets’ radar.
Shin-Soo Choo seems to be the name most mentioned when Met fans discuss possible offseason acquisitions for the team. And why not, as the Mets have an apparent opening in the outfield as well as the need for a legitimate top of the order hitter who can maintain at least a .380 on-base clip.
Choo seems to fit the bill perfectly, as his .291/.425/.472 batting line would attest. And while the Mets seem to have center field covered just fine with Juan Lagares who continues to shine defensively and is growing offensively, Choo is best served in left field even though the Cincinnati Reds prefer him in center.
However, with rumors still abounding that the Mets will spend this Winter, exactly what does that mean without any tangible or relevant value attached to all these constant quotes from ownership and the front office? Do they mean spend $9 million as they did in 2011? Or $10.5 million as they spent in 2012? Or is it $15 million as they spent in 2013? You see what I’m saying?
I wrote yesterday, that ultimately it will be up to the lenders how much the Mets will spend. While the Wilpons are on better financial footing, don’t take that to mean they are not still knee-deep in debt. The lenders are still watching very closely and are calling many of the financial shots. They want to be sure those debt and interest payments keep rolling in every month.
Getting back to Choo, SNY’s Andy Martino wrote a little about him last week saying that “the chatter linking the team to Choo is spreading, both around the league and inside the organization.”
“Hearing Choo is the guy they like,” said one rival executive last week, and he isn’t the only one in the industry making that connection.
I ran that by a Mets official who has been briefed on Sandy Alderson’s thinking, and got this response: “I’m hearing that, too.”
As I’ve stated over the last three offseasons, and correctly mind you, the Mets do not have the intestinal fortitude for a bidding war, and make no mistake that there will be many teams interested in what Choo brings to the table. He would fit just as perfectly in a dozen other lineups as he would on the Mets.
Then there’s this new “short-term” thing that is all the rage in Flushing.
That’s the term that gets bandied about whenever the conversation shifts to free agency and this “so called spending” the Mets are going to engage in this Winter.
It’s quite the paradox really. A team desperate for high-quality talent, but one that desires short-term 2-3 year deals and doesn’t want to budge if someone mentions parting with a highly regarded prospect. You see, something has to give. It takes two to tango.
Sandy Alderson has proven to be quite the trader when he’s overseeing a fire sale and a rebuild. He’s quite adept at hawking major league talent for minor league talent. What we haven’t seen however, is any ability to trade for a premium major league talent. He hasn’t shown the gumption to make that kind of a deal and I don’t believe he’s capable of it.
So we can all drool over the likes of Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury. Or fantasize about a trade for Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez, but in the end only those general managers who consistently outbid for elite players like that, end up getting those players. So far, we haven’t seen DNA evidence that this front office has what it takes to prevail in a bidding war for any major league talent.
However, I challenge Sandy Alderson to prove me wrong.