Analysis

What if the Yankees Signed Shin-Shoo Choo in 2013?

When the Yankees were gearing up for a 2014 postseason run, now-Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was on the Bombers’ offseason shopping list.

Gather around everyone, time for a story. Following a subpar 85-77 2013 campaign, the New York Yankees came back with a vengeance in 2014… or at least they planned to. In the Winter leading into the 2014 season, the Bombers brought in new names from across the world in an attempt to build a real contender. Some of these names were Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Masahiro Tanaka… actually, just read this and let it fill you in, then come back. I’ll wait.

Back to the main story, the Yankees also considered bringing in names that they eventually struck out on, as well, like Omar Infante and Robinson Cano. Another big name the Yankees fired a blank on was now-Texas Rangers’ outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

Who’s Shin Soo-Choo?

Choo’s been in the league since 2005, coming up with the Seattle Mariners and playing for the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds before landing in Texas prior to the 2014 season. He was 31 at the time of hitting free agency and was looking for a hefty deal following Jacoby Ellsbury’s signing of seven years, $153 million. With the numbers Choo put up in 2013, he certainly had a case for that contract.

In 2013 for the Reds, Choo hit .285 with a .423 on-base percentage. He only drove in 54 runs but blasted 21 homers. He also had stellar analytical numbers, too, with a 150 wRC+, a .393 wOBA, and a 6.4 WAR. In a contract year, there’s no doubt he took a big shot at cashing out big.

What did the Yankees Offer Him?

According to Jeff Passan, the Yankees offered Choo a seven-year, $140 million contract. This offer was made following the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury, prompting Choo to want more. After this, the Yankees moved on.

Choo would eventually sign a seven-year, $130 million deal with the Rangers in late December.

What has he Done Since?

Choo’s been a solid player for Texas over the past six years, but with the Rangers having more failure than success since then, that contract has been more of an albatross than a help. He’s been good enough to be considered a solid player, but not good enough for another team to take on the bulk of that contract.

To put it into numbers, Choo has hit .261 with a .365 OBP for Texas. He’s hit 109 long balls (which is just over 18 per season, on average), and has a decent but nowhere near stellar 112 wRC+ and .347 wOBA.

Although Choo’s been a solid player, he’s nowhere near worth the money he received. The Yankees would still be paying Choo to this day if he had signed that deal, and it’s definitely a blessing he chose to pass up the bombers.

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