Sep 24, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo bats in a game against the New York Mets at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
After a blitzkrieg-like start to the MLB off-season and free agency, teams have slowed down their spending as of late. Most of the top names on free agency have already inked new contracts to play in new cities in 2014.
One major player is still on the market, as Shin-Soo Choo is allowing his agent Scott Boras to wait out the market and garner him as much money as possible. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Boras has already turned down a seven-year, $140 million deal from the New York Yankees. The Yankees went on to sign the cheaper Carlos Beltran, meaning they are likely out on Choo.
This opens the door for another team to jump into the Choo sweepstakes, and that team could be the Houston Astros. Passan mentions in his article that the Astros have an offer on the table for Choo:
"1. Shin-Soo Choo is now the big question. Sources said multiple teams are believed to have active offers out on Choo – and one of those teams is believed to be the Houston Astros, whose entire roster at one point last season was being paid less than Choo will command for 2014 and beyond."
Now, we are a Miami Marlins blog, so you’re probably wondering what a Choo-to-Astros rumor has to do with the Marlins, right? Well, Choo signing with the Astros could have major ramifications for the Marlins in the upcoming draft in June.
The Astros, by virtue of finishing with the worst record in baseball, hold the number 1 overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft in June. The Marlins currently hold the number 2 pick and are likely to miss out on sure-fire number 1 pick Carlos Rondon.
This is where Choo fits into the equation. The Reds offered Choo arbitration before free agency started and he of course declined, this meaning he would cost any team he signs with a first round pick. The first 10 picks in the MLB draft are always protected, meaning the Astros would have to surrender their second round pick instead.
That still leaves the Marlins without a legitimate shot at Rondon and a chance to pair him with Rookie of the Year Award winner Jose Fernandez.
Except it doesn’t. If the Astros were to sign Choo, they would lose not only their second round pick, but also the draft money allotted to that pick, as Passan points out:
"The Astros do not like the idea of giving up a draft pick, especially in a year in which another Boras client, Carlos Rodon, is almost a lock to go No. 1 overall and likely to command an excessive portion of Houston’s signing bonus pool."
There is a chance that the Astros could pass on Rondon come draft time, if they feel like the cost for Rondon and his agent (Boras as well) are too outrageous. This would position the Marlins perfectly to have an opportunity to draft a top of the rotation arm to add onto their already impressive collection of arms. In fact, by 2015, the Marlins rotation could look like this if things work out:
That rotation would easily rank among the best in all of baseball, especially if those top 3 pitchers develop like most Major League scouts expect them to.
If the Marlins find a way to keep Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich develops the way the Marlins expect him to, the Marlins could have a dangerous team, maybe even a contender as soon as that 2015 season.
What do you guys think? Should we get our pom-poms out and root for the Astros to become more serious about Choo? While it’s still a longshot that the Astros decide to pass on Rondon even if they sign Choo, it at least gives the Marlins a better chance. Let us know in the comments what you think about this potential scenario.