Tigers targeting Shin-Soo Choo, per report


The Tigers are looking for outfield help to bolster a lineup that is now without a big bopper in Prince Fielder.

Fresh off several big moves the past two weeks, the Detroit Tigers are interested in signing free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Choo is a talented all-around player who would fit in nicely with the Tigers' lineup. He hit .285/.423/.462 as a member of the Reds in 2013. He also hit 21 home runs and stole 20 bases while also playing solid defense in center field. He has been seeking a similar deal to Jayson Werth, who received seven years and $126 million from the Nationals prior to the 2011 season.

Reports earlier on Tuesday also mentioned that the Tigers could use their salary space to go after a different free agent outfielder in Jacoby Ellsbury. However, those reports came before the Yankees swooped in on a seven-year deal with Ellsbury. Choo comes with more power and better on-base skills than Ellsbury though he has less speed and isn't quite as good defensively. That's more of a testament to Ellsbury than a slight to Choo, however. Choo is always a threat to be a 20-20 player in home runs and stolen bases and is an outstanding defensive corner outfielder.

The Tigers have created salary room this offseason by trading away both Prince Fielder and Doug Fister, resulting in savings of about $82 million overall. They also signed closer Joe Nathan to a two-year deal for around $20 million on Tuesday. They currently owe about $112.7 million to seven players under contract, with MLB Trade Rumors estimating they will spend another $32 million on six players eligible for arbitration. Filling in the rest of the roster with players earning around the league minimum would bring the opening day payroll in 2014 up to roughly $150 million, right around where it was to open 2013. MLB's new national TV deals could kick in enough extra money for them to spend more, however.

Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter are currently taking up two of the team's outfield spots with Andy Dirks penciled in to left field. Adding Choo would certainly bolster a Tigers team that is hoping to maintain their AL Central dominance.

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