Shin-Soo Choo, the star Reds outfielder and now much sought after free agent, is allegedly seeking a contract that will exceed that of Jayson Werth's deal signed with the Nationals, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. Choo is easily this winter's most valuable outfielder and Scott Boras is hoping to use that leverage to raise his value.
Werth's contract with the Nationals is at seven years and $126 million, which he signed in the 2010 offseason. In the time since the signing, Werth has compiled 7.6 fWAR and put up a line of .277/.367/.450. Choo put up numbers similar to that of Werth in 2013: a 5.2 fWAR and a line of .285/.423/.462. Given that their performances can be considered comparable and their ages are also similar at the time of signing, Boras is quite right that Choo will be able to command more than Werth's deal given the free agent class.
Whether the Yankees will be willing to pay that type of money is yet to be seen. On one hand, they are in great need of a corner outfielder and a solid bat. The organization has extended the qualifying offer of $14.1 million to Curtis Granderson, but it is likely that he will test the open market given the number of teams that have corner outfielders on their radar. The Mets and White Sox look to be serious players for him, so there's no guarantee he comes back to the Yankees. On the other hand, Plan 189™ is also in place. There are obvious needs, yes, but there is no way that the Yankees stay below $189 million with a Choo contract of over $18 million per year. This could just be Boras testing the waters and seeing if teams will bite or it could be a serious proposition.
Given the aggressiveness of Boras and the free agent class, I'm going to go with the latter. If that is the case, it looks like Choo just jumped out of the Yankees' price range. Should the Yankees attempt to shoot for Choo given the possibility of this price and length of contract, or should they try to acquire a lower price option? I'm hoping that they try to make something work, because we all know what a year of the Ichiro/Vernon Wells duo looks like.
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