Everything is perfect, but there is a lot of room for improvement. --- Shunryu Suzuki-roshi
Choo has 2.4 and 5.2 WAR the last two years. Bruce has 2.2 and 4.1
If you can only lock up 1, it should be Choo. Here is why:
Signing Bruce long term will show a drastic decline of the skill(s) that you're signing him for over the life on the contract. Choo would be your lead off hitter for his entire career....never really under performing the skill set you're paying him for. He could move to a corner OF and let Hamilton take over CF at some point. Choo's a better long term deal than Bruce.If Shin-Soo Choo's game was reliant on speed, athleticism, defense or power, he'd be one of the biggest risks on the free-agent market. At the age of 31, all of those skills will deteriorate over the life of a long-term deal.
Yet, Choo is on this list because of a skill that won't wain over the years. In fact, it could become more prolific as the outfielder garners more plate appearances and becomes an even more accomplished hitter in the box.
Since becoming a full-time player in 2009, Choo ranks fifth in all of baseball (Baseball-Reference PI subscription required) with a .392 on-base percentage, including a .423 mark in 2013. The only players ahead of Choo on the list of on-base machines: Joey Votto, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Joe Mauer.
Jay Bruce is only 26, but he's already locked up for the next four years. The best prospects are outfielders and they are coming in droves by then. I don't think the Reds need to lock-up Bruce unless they can get a sweetheart deal. As much as I like the guy, a new deal for him is just not a priority at this point IMO.
"All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH
Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS
Old school 1983 (11-30-2013)
This, to me, actually comes full circle when considering signing Beltran. Choo would require a larger financial commitment over a larger number of years. He would do more to block cheaper younger, and at that point, potentially more productive younger players. If Beltran can be signed for less years and money, in 2014 he could grab the lions share of the playing time while Ludwick could be kept in reserve if an injury occurs. IMO he is a much better backup plan than we saw in 2013, despite his cost. The following year, I'd be willing to bet one of the aforementioned outfield prospects would be ready to cover left field in the event of an injury to Beltran, and then the year after than partake in a platoon with a prospect the following year in order to ease the prospect into the majors. I definitely think there is an injury risk associated with Beltran, but if the Reds play their cards right it can be covered much better than the Ludwick injey of 2013. Also Beltran would help to make up some of Choo's production without having to trade a proven big league piece. Yes you'd have to give up a draft pick, but at that point, the Reds may be able to flip the players that are constantly mentioned as potential trade options here for a known commodity prospect that could possibly be better than what could be drafted.
Choo gets on base more than 90% of the people in baseball. Im not sure he'd be blocking someone more productive in your farm system. The ability he has is not the sort of ability to decline over time. Think this guy:
He's a great investment....especially playing Center. As he gets older he can move to one of the corners.
It's not enough to point out that Choo is a great player. The market knows he's a great player and will price him accordingly. The question is about value and fit. You could say that Robinson Cano is a great player, or whatever top FA hits the market next year, or the year after. They're all great players. The fact that Choo played for the Reds last year doesn't matter, he's a FA now. Given that Boras is his agent, you can probably forget about any kind of discount. Does he fit? I don't see how. We have OF prospects. We need a RH bat. We need a CF much more than a corner OF.
Nope, Beltran goes to the Yankees. So you can cross Granderson and Beltran off your list for potential OF free agent signings. Are the Reds going to make any signings of significance this off season?