Last month, one MLB executive told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that Shin-Soo Choo could fetch $90-$100MM on the open market this winter. It's a number that probably seems high to many, but agent Scott Boras thinks that figure is actually on the low side.
"As a custom of the industry, prognostications by executives this time of year are dramatically divergent from the real market," Boras told Heyman. "I don't think anyone correctly predicted what Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford got."
Heyman checked in with three other execs on guesses for Choo – two said $75MM over five years and one threw out $56MM for four. Two of the executives were probably using B.J. Upton's $75.5MM, five-year deal as a comp, and the other was likely looking at Michael Bourn's four-year, $48MM pact with the Indians (and possibly Nick Swisher's four-year, $56MM contract as well). Boras argues that none of those estimates are on the mark because, in part, they are working off of the assumption that five years is as high as a club will go.
The agent notes that Werth got seven years from the Nationals, and while Choo isn't exactly a spring chicken, he is the same age (31) that Werth was when he inked his deal. Choo also actually boasts a slightly better career slash line than Werth. He adds that Choo's value could also get a boost thanks to his ability to play center field and bat leadoff (though a look at defensive metrics like UZR and DRS indicate that Choo is clearly not cut out for center field).
If Choo's next deal is worth $100MM or more, it would be more than just surprising, it would be historical. Of the 43 players that have received nine-figure deals, only six - Werth, Zack Greinke, Ryan Zimmerman, Mike Hampton, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran - had just one All-Star selection before putting pen to paper. Choo, meanwhile, has never made an All-Star team.
So far, Choo has already been linked to the Mets and Cubs, and he should have plenty of other suitors this offseason. Choo reportedly "loves" Cincinnati, but GM Walt Jocketty was candid earlier in the year in expressing that it would likely be difficult for the team to afford Choo beyond 2013.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.