Last night, the Reds pulled off their first big trade of the offseason, acquiring outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and infielder Jason Donald from the Indians. What kind of player did the Reds pick up? Let's take a closer look.
Choo was signed by the Mariners out of South Korea at the age of 18, and spent his first few years in the US working his way up Seattle's minor league system. Looking at his numbers, the thing that stands out the most to me is that from an early age, he got on base at a pretty prodigious clip. His OBP was over .420 his first two years in the Seattle system, and he kept it at an above average level for his entire minor league career. He developed some pop as he progressed up the leagues, and stole 40 bases in his age 21 season.
Shortly after he was called up by Seattle, he was involved in a trade deadline deal with the Indians that involved (former Red) Ben Broussard. It took him a while to break in with the Tribe, but in 2008, he worked his way into the lineup as Cleveland's everyday right fielder. To date, his .381 career OBP isn't too shabby.
What does this mean for the Reds? Cincinnati will likely plug him in at the top of the lineup, where they hope to improve on their .254 OBP from the leadoff spot from 2012. According to some quick twitter math by the FayMan, they can expect around 100 more baserunners throughout the course of a season. That'll definitely come in handy.
The other lineup ramification here is that Brandon Phillips will move into the 2nd spot, where he'll have the privilege of hitting with runners on base, and the protection of Joey Votto after him. Zack Cozart will probably move into the 7th or 8th spot, where quite frankly, he belongs.
I'm not really expecting any more big deals from Walt in this offseason at this point. I think they're fairly happy with the guys they have, and maybe a Jack Hannahan signing or something to shore up the bench is all they'll do. The pitching staff is still pretty solid, as this trade didn't deplete it at all like we thought a trade for a leadoff hitter would.
For or against the Choo deal? Say so in the comments.