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.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.
Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.
There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.
Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.