Shin-Soo Choo rumors: Astros interested in soon-to-be free agent


The Astros are looking to expand payroll and could make a big splash with Choo.

The Houston Astros have an interest in outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and could pursue him when he becomes a free agent following the World Series, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Choo would seem to be a fit with general manager Jeff Luhnow's desire for players with high on-base percentages. Choo has a career .389 OBP, with a career high .423 OBP in 2013 for the Reds. He also has decent pop at the plate and has stolen at least 20 bases in four of the past five years. Choo would immediately slot in as the best bat in the team's lineup.

The Astros had by far the lowest payroll in the MLB in 2013, spending just $26 million on their roster. The team shed so much money when they moved to the American League that they have a mere $7 million under contract for 2014, including $5.5 million that they will pay to the Pirates to help with Wandy Rodriguez's salary.

Owner Jim Crane has said the team could be active in free agency, however, and could potentially spend up to $60 million on their roster in 2014. That number could rise even more if a situation with cable provider Comcast is settled. The Astros are hoping to block a bankruptcy filing that would terminate the team's deal with their regionals broadcaster.

The Rangers and Cubs have also been rumored candidates to sign Choo in free agency. The Reds would also like to bring him back for next season. Choo is believed to be seeking a big deal comparable to the $126 million Jayson Werth received from the Nationals as a free agent prior to the 2011 season.

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