Although most of the Choo buzz at the Winter Meetings was based around Seattle and Texas, Houston could jump into the race for the best remaining free agent as well, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
If that happens, Houston's highest paid player in 2014 would end up being compensated nearly as much as their entire roster was a season ago. The average salary for a 2013 Houston Astro was $966,847, so a move this significant would be something of a surprise to some, but several of the Astros top prospects are getting close to reaching the majors and the team has already added dynamic outfielder Dexter Fowler in an effort to improve at the big-league level. Most, if not all, of the prospects in the team's farm system would have a chance at getting to the show during the duration of a seven-year deal, which is what Choo's agent, Scott Boras is reportedly asking for his top client.
Comparing Choo with players like Jayson Werth, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carl Crawford isn't of the utmost utility if you're considering their on-field contributions, but Boras is using his present and former clients as a benchmark for suitors to contemplate. Boras has been exceptionally patient in the past when waiting for the right offer, like he was with Prince Fielder in the 2011-12 offseason, holding out until late-January for a $200+ million deal from the Tigers. He could be content to employ the same patience with Choo if the market doesn't play out as desired over the next few weeks.
Choo fits the club's high-OBP philosophy better than almost any other player in the game. The Astros have made advanced metrics a huge priority, and the ability to get on base at premium rate is one of the best ways for a player to add value without smashing a homer.
The market for Choo is bound to get particularly competitive before he finally signs with a team this offseason, so the Astros will have their work cut out for them if they intend to seriously pursue the 31-year old outfielder. It might take a commitment of up to $150 million over seven years to land him.
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