Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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The Reds Should Trade For A Familiar Friend

The Cincinnati Reds currently sit at 13-17, tied for third place in the NL Central and just two games behind the second place Cardinals. That likely positions them to be buyers at the trade deadline, especially given their preseason playoff expectations. For a more thorough analysis of what the Reds could do at the trade deadline, a comprehensive deadline preview was written last week. In this case though, we will take a look at one particular name that could be a great fit for the Reds: Shin-Soo Choo.

Choo is a familiar face for the Reds, having played there in 2013 and slashing an outstanding .285/.423/.462 with a 150 wRC+ and 6.4 fWAR. Though he hasn’t been as good since, he’s still been consistently an above average hitter for the Rangers, posting a wRC+ of at least 101 in every year with them prior to 2020.

At 38 years old, Choo is no longer even a serviceable defender, and hasn’t been for a while. That is not an issue for the 2020 Reds though, as they have other outfield options. Choo, rather, would slot into a DH and bench role for the Reds, providing a left handed threat for a team that already has a similarly skilled right handed compliment in Matt Davidson. Additionally, Choo could slot into the leadoff spot for the Reds against RHP. The Reds have struggled to get consistent production from the leadoff spot since Choo left after 2013, and that has been even further amplified so far in 2020.

On the surface, Choo has struggled in 2020, posting just a .216/.306/.365 slash and 73 wRC+. However, Choo’s StatCast numbers paint a drastically different picture. His barrel rate of 11.3% would be the best of his career, though StatCast numbers only go back to 2015. His average exit velocity of 89 MPH grades out above league average as well, and his hard hit rate of 32.1% is just below league average. His strikeout rate is on pace with his 2019, and his walk rate of 10.6% is just slightly below his numbers from recent seasons. Choo’s expected statistics are promising as well, with a .266 xBA, .520 xSLG, and .363 xwOBA that all dwarf his actual numbers. Simply put, enough promising signs exist to believe that Choo will return to being an offensive force.

A trade for Choo likely wouldn’t require teams to give up a ton, as he is strictly a one year rental. A return could be predicated on how much of his salary a team is willing to take on, as he’s due a prorated $21 million this season. If the acquiring team would take on his remaining salary, it’s likely he could be had for nothing more than an insignificant player to be named later.

Choo seemed resigned to the fact that he would be traded before the deadline, though it is worth noting that he could veto any trade since he has earned 10-and-5 rights. A return to the Reds would likely be welcomed by Choo, and former teammate and good friend Joey Votto would likely be thrilled to have Choo back with the team as well for the stretch run.

Kyle Berger

Reds contributor for Max’s Sporting Studio. Follow on Twitter @KB_48

One thought on “The Reds Should Trade For A Familiar Friend

  • Phyllis Fineman

    Great column. Enjoyed reading.

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