Hee Seop Choi Rumors

Speculation: Choi or Pena to Reds?

Publicly, the Reds’ plan seems to be using Scott Hatteberg as a full-time first baseman and shifting Adam Dunn back to the outfield now that Wily Mo Pena is gone.

Hatteberg authored a .256/.334/.343 line for Oakland last year in 464 at-bats.  That’s just nowhere near the work of a starting first baseman, even if he does dial that OBP up to .370 again.  A commenter on the Wily Mo thread, Mike Murphy, had this to say:

"I predict… the Cincy Reds will wind up with either Carlos Pena or Hee Seop Choi."

To that I say, good call!  One of those interesting first base projects would be an ideal fit for Cincinnati.  Other possibilities:  Tony Clark, Ryan Shealy, and maybe Walter Young.  Hell, Calvin Pickering deserves another shot, the big lug.  Not sure who the Reds could send over to acquire Shealy, but that would be a fantastic pickup.   

WEEI’s Tejada Rumor Making Rounds

The Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI 850 in Boston broke out an improbable-sounding trade rumor this morning.  Here’s the idea:

Dodgers send: Derek Lowe, Hee Seop Choi
Red Sox send:  David Wells, Alex Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, Tony Graffanino
Orioles send:  Miguel Tejada, Luis Matos

Dodgers receive: Wells, Graffanino, Matos
Red Sox receive:  Tejada, Choi
Orioles receive:  Lowe, Gonzalez, Youkilis, Lester

In my humble opinion, there’s about zero chance of a deal like this going down.  Then why am I posting about it?  For one thing, I’ve received a host of emails about the possibility.  So it seems that the people want to discuss it.  Secondly, plenty of these players are likely to be dealt, just not in this combination.

Is Derek Lowe on the block?  Certainly.  I know for a fact that the Cubs and Phillies have expressed interest in him.  I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t represent a big gain for the Orioles, however.  The Phils could still try to hammer something out to obtain Lowe.

Hee Seop Choi has nowhere to play on the Dodgers, and I mentioned before that I think the Devil Rays should make a play for him.  However, they’ve added Russell Branyan as a corner guy so it seems less likely at this point.  There isn’t much of a market for a first baseman, but Choi still deserves a chance.

Wells is certainly likely to be dealt, and the Dodgers are a viable candidate.  I mentioned yesterday that the Mets could consider Boomer as well.

Without doing any research, I have a feeling that a team can’t sign a free agent and trade him immediately.  That’s why the Alex Gonzalez thing seems way off to me.  Plus, Boston seemed to be trying to strengthen their defense.  That is supposedly where Gonzalez’s value lies.

The Red Sox won’t be trading Youkilis and Lester.  They’re far too valuable as building blocks.  Graffanino should be on the move, but that’s a minor deal.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tejada dealt before the deadline, and a guy like Lester would have to be involved.  There’s a fair chance Ronny Cedeno bombs and the Cubs try to re-engage the Orioles this summer.  They’d be relying on the further development of minor leaguers to form an attractive package.

Matos, sure, he’ll end up somewhere.  But the Dodgers don’t need him.   

Choi Would Be Good Fit For D-Rays

Hee Seop Choi, a remnant of the DePodesta Administration, is a lame duck at first base for the Dodgers.  The club has nowhere to play Choi and no desire to keep him around.  Where could the Korean 1B end up this winter?

The Athletics figure to split time at first base between Nick Swisher and mostly Dan Johnson.  However, one of them could play DH and the starting job could be handed to Choi.  Bargain players with something to prove are right up Billy Beane’s alley, as evidenced by the Milton Bradley trade.

Choi would also fit nicely in the low pressure environment of Tampa Bay.  If Travis Lee doesn’t accept arbitration with the D-Rays, they could plug Choi in and give him at least 400 ABs at first.  Choi’s prospect window is closing after 363 Major League games, but he’s never gotten more than 320 at-bats in a season.  It would be a low-risk, high-reward move similar to the Sean Burroughs trade.