Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has emphasized on-base percentage like almost no other baseball executive, and Choo had a .423 on-base percentage in 2013, second only to Reds teammate Joey Votto in the National League. Choo hit .285 with 21 home runs, 107 runs and 20 stolen bases, but his most marketable skills is his ability to get on base.A Houston signing of Choo would be somewhat reminiscent of the Nationals' surprise deal for Jayson Werth three years ago, back when Washington was a cellar dweller. The Nationals received a lot of criticism for the move at the time due to the stunning $126 million, seven-year price tag for a player who had made just one All-Star team, but Werth brough credibility and leadership at a time the team needed it.Choo established himself this past season as one of the league's top leadoff hitters, as the Reds' gambit paid off big. He could be seen as a comparable player to Werth, though he apparently will seek to top Werth's $126 million, as he has shown he can lead off ahead of the contract (Werth did so later) and agent Scott Boras will try to make the case he should benefit from baseball's expanding revenues three years later.Many folks originally scoffed at the idea of a nine-figure deal for Choo -- he'd be the first player never to make an All-Star team to sign such a deal -- but Hunter Pence's $90-million, five-year deal back with his old Giants club before even entering the market seems to suggest Choo has a very good chance to top $100 million. He is viewed as the player likely to receive the third highest total contract on the free agent market, beyond Robinson Cano and Ellsbury.Luhnow declined to discuss Choo as he technically remains a Red until the free-agent period begins in the days after the World Series, Speaking generally, however, Luhnow said “the organizational philosophy is pointing in the direction of getting guys (who show patience) at the plate.” Houston's minor-league teams all ranked in the top two or three in on-base percentage in their respective leagues.
At the major-league level, the Astros weren't nearly as patient. “Obviously, we have a lot of free swingers,” Luhnow noted. “We're going to looking for any bats that are complementary.”