The Winter Meetings are complete, but there are still some potential moves that the Phillies could make. Over the next week, I’ll take a look at some players that the Phillies might want to target in the later portion of free agency.
Position: Center field
2013 Team: Cincinnati Reds
Key 2013 stats: .285 AVG/.423 OBP/.462 SLG/21 HR/54 RBI
Throughout his career, Choo has been very good at getting on base, but 2013 proved to be his best year yet. His .285 average was not impressive by itself, but thanks to 112 walks (second most in the league) he had an exceptional .423 OBP. (Also second best in the league)
Why He Might be a Good Fit
Unlike Choo, most current members of the Phillies are not especially good at getting on base. Adding Shoo would give them a legitimate leadoff hitter who would provide plenty of RBI opportunities for the middle of the order. His ability to play center field would also allow the Phillies to shift Ben Revere to a reserve role where his speed and ability to make contact would be an asset.
Why He Might Not be a Good Fit
Choo is considered an adequate fielder in center, but many scouts are convinced that he’d be better suited for right field. Choo’s platoon splits are also more drastic than Revere’s. While the difference would likely be negated by Choo’s ability to walk and hit for some power, it certainly wouldn’t help the team’s lineup imbalance.
Choo would improve the team better both offensively and defensively for the next couple of years. The problem is, he is probably seeking a long-term contract similar to the one recently signed by Jacoby Ellsbury. Choo will be age 32 next season, and it is always harrowing to offer a lengthy and expensive contract to a player who is likely to decline soon. If the Phillies are as satisfied with their lineup as they claim, then they probably wouldn’t want to make that kind of monetary commitment, nor give up the compensatory draft pick that they would need to sacrifice.
If Choo remains unsigned and he is willing to accept a shorter deal, then the Phillies should take a look. Otherwise, they should be satisfied with Revere in center.