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Is Choo worth $140 million?

Is Choo worth $140 million?

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Published : 2013-12-12 11:14
Updated : 2014-02-09 12:15

After most of the Major League’s top free agents have signed new contracts, Choo Shin-soo is heating up the league once again with his enormous demand of $140 million over seven years, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The price tag on the 31-year-old outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds brings up a series of questions, which can all be summed up to this: Is he worth it?

There is no doubt that the South Korean is a big contributor on offense. He is among the top players in terms of on-base percentage -- career .389 OBP -- and can run as well as hit as demonstrated by his several 20/20 seasons where he hit 20 home runs and stole 20 bases in one season.

In 2013, he recorded a 15.7 percent walk rate and .423 OBP, numbers topped only by his teammate Joey Votto in the National League.

Despite his brilliance on offense, he is considered by most sabermetrics statistic to be among the worst defensive outfielders in the league. The widely used Ultimate Zone Rating had Choo at dead last among centerfielders in 2013. His hitting percentage also drops by a huge margin when facing lefties.

Also, many are questioning if Choo is superstar material. He has yet to have been named an all-star and his age suggests that he has already peaked as a player. Even as he posted a career season in 2013, he is considered more a solid player than a star.

The good news for Choo is that at this point, he is considered arguably the best available option in the market. It also helps that Choo’s demand seems to make more sense after the New York Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury for $153 million, another top outfielder in this year’s free agency.

So where will Choo-choo train make its next stop?

Reports have suggested the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are leading the race, although some say Seattle may back off from the bid after signing Corey Hart and Logan Morrison.

By Yoon Min-sik and news reports (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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