Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the Reds are “deep in talks” to acquire outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the Indians.
According to Knobler the deal would send current Cincinnati center fielder Drew Stubbs and infield prospect Didi Gregorius to Cleveland.
All offseason the Reds have been linked to various center fielders as they looked to upgrade from Stubbs, but it’s worth noting that Choo hasn’t played an inning in center field since 2009 and has just 10 career starts in center field during his eight-season career. At age 30 he isn’t even a standout right fielder.
Choo will definitely be a massive upgrade in the leadoff spot with a .381 career on-base percentage that includes a .371 mark this year, and when healthy he’s one of the more underrated all-around outfielders in baseball. But even with the solid Jay Bruce in right field an outfield that has Choo in center field and Ryan Ludwick in left field figures to be pretty ugly.
Stubbs would presumably take over as the Indians’ starting center fielder, pushing Michael Brantley to left field, and Gregorius would give Cleveland a potential shortstop replacement if Asdrubal Cabrera is traded.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.