As the New York Mets’ season draws to a close, talk has already begun about how to fill the team’s holes in the offseason. They’ve shown signs of improvement in several areas, but a few deficiencies stand out — namely power, corner outfield, shortstop, and the leadoff position.
Unfortunately, it’s a weak free agent market this year. Further complicating matters, impending free agent Hunter Pence has just signed a five-year extension with Giants to the tune of $90 million. This will drive up the price for other top-line free agents such as Reds’ outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
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Widely sought after for a couple of years, Choo is coming off a season that has confirmed his status as a valuable asset. Unfortunately, his agent–the infamous Scott Boras–is already speaking expansively on behalf of his client, suggesting that $100 million would be “too low” of an offer to sign Choo.
The New York Mets would do well not to overpay for Shin Soo-Choo, no matter how enticing his addition to the roster might seem. They no longer need some of what he offers, and the price tag would make it hard for them to address other needs.
With the additions of Eric Young Jr., Juan Lagares and Matt Den Dekker, the Mets’ outfield defense has dramatically improved. Even with Young’s defensive weaknesses, his speed and ability to charge the ball make him mediocre at best, and Lagares looks like a perennial Gold Glover next to him in the outfield so he’ll have protection in the gaps. There’s also still the possibility of moving Young to second base, which is his more natural position. A move to second base would allow him to continue to improve at the top of the batting order, where he’s been a valuable catalyst.
This, in turn, would allow the Mets to use Wilmer Flores and/or Daniel Murphy as trade material for two of their more glaring needs: a middle-order power threat and a reliable shortstop. As good as Shin Soo-Choo is, he’s not a middle-order power bat, a true leadoff hitter or a shortstop. Moreover, Boras’ asking price would drain a lot of the funds the Mets could use to sign new talent or secure their centerpieces.
If there’s anyone the New York Mets should spend extravagantly on, it would be the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki. He’s a great defensive shortstop who has proven he can hit the ball out of anywhere, and his acquisition would fill two of the Mets’ major needs. Shin-Soo Choo is a great player and a great asset, but for the New York Mets, he’s not worth the asking price.