Yesterday’s trade rumor du jour started up just before the Pirates’ debacle of a loss on their way out of Houston; Rob Biertempfel reported that the Pirates were interested in Indians’ outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and guessed that it would take Starling Marte to get the job done. From there things ballooned out a bit; the Rangers and Reds are also interested in Choo, but the Indians are slow to move him unless they get a young player with some serious years of control left.
Choo is a pretty interesting player and I think he’d be a great fit for the top of the Pirates’ lineup (he’s hitting.291/.378/.484 this year and has a career .383 OBP), but this looks an awful lot like a dead end to me. That’s why I didn’t talk about it much yesterday and I only want to briefly touch on it now. The reality is that Choo will be a free agent after 2013 and as much as he’d make a great fit for the Pirates for the rest of 2012 and all of 2013, I just don’t see them dealing a prospect like Starling Marte for a year and two months of any player.
I think Biertempfel is right on in saying that they’d have to deal Marte to get Choo, too. The Indians are still nominally in the playoff race in 2012 and could certainly make a run in 2013 with Choo as one of their players. Choo is also good enough that he can (and is) generating plenty of interest from teams that are in different places with different minor league systems than the Pirates, which means that if the Tribe has options and someone will pay a similar price to Marte, even if the Pirates won’t. Choo’s a good player and he’d be right for the Pirates, but without Robbie Grossman in the system I don’t see the Pirates as a good fit for this kind of trade.