Former Seattle Mariners prospect Shin-Soo Choo is now a free agent. Should they try to sign him this offseason?
On July 26 2006 Shin-Soo Choo was traded to the Cleveland Indians in a deal that would send Ben Broussard to the Seattle Mariners. Along with the Adam Jones trade, it was one of the multiple trades and signings that would doom the Mariners in the late 2000’s.
Now, for the second time in his career, Shin-Soo Choo is a free agent coming off of a 7 year $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers. Choo has had a great career and is recognized as the greatest MLB player ever to come from South Korea.
In 16 seasons in the major leagues (two with Seattle) Choo has an .824 OPS, a 34.6 WAR, and is known for his ability to get on base with his career .377 OBP 152 free passes via hit by pitch. While Choo has this impressive career resume as Mariners fans remember his time in Seattle was short and not very sweet, as he only had 2 hits in 33 plate appearances in his early twenties.
Now with Choo hitting the open market at age 38, should the Mariners go after him to fill their need for another outfielder?
So, should the Seattle Mariners pursue Shin-Soo Choo?
The short answer is no.
The long answer starts with the fact that Choo does not fit the mold of what the Mariners need and are trying to be. Choo is 38 and while he has never been known for his defense, he has gotten worse in his older age.
Choo spent most of 2018 and 2019 as a DH and played 14 of his 33 games played last season as the DH. Even with all this time as a DH Choo has a -4.1 dWAR over the last three seasons.
While many have said that what the Mariners need is a left-handed hitter to fill the open spot in left field, I disagree and talked about why the Mariners need a righty in a recent blog that you can read by clicking here.
Shin-Soo Choo is a poor hitter against left-handed pitching so he won’t help the Mariners in that regard, so add in his poor defense and it is hard to imagine him as an everyday player in the outfield at his age.
The flip side argument is that Choo is still a productive hitter and made his first All-Star Game just two years ago, so if the Mariners can get him on a very cheap deal and not cut any prospects to keep the 40 man roster at 40, a deal for Choo could make sense.
While Seattle could also bank on Choo having a good first half of the season and then send him off at the deadline and hope Kelenic is ready for the major leagues, with his older age, poor defense, and a price tag that is likely too high, Seattle does not seem like the place for Choo and I imagine that he ends up with a contender.