Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ahh, Choo!

The Indians will get Shin-Soo Choo back Friday. That's about nine months earlier than expected. Choo will have missed just slightly less than three weeks with a right thumb injury that originally looked like it might require season-ending surgery. Turns out it only needed a little season-continuing rest.

Is Choo the Indians' best player? All-around player, yes. Grady Sizemore gets more publicity, but Choo is the better all-around player. Choo is clearly the better hitter. Choo's career marks: a .294 batting average, .387 on base percentage, and a .487 slugging percentage.

Sizemore's career numbers: a .272 batting average, .363 on base percentage, and .477 slugging percentage.

Choo has a stronger arm than Sizemore, although Sizemore makes more memorable catches in the outfield, because he's fearless in going after balls near walls, while Choo seems a little gun shy of the wall. Sizemore is faster, but Choo is a very good baserunner as well, and a very good base stealer.

The return of Choo makes the Indians' lineup deeper and better. So that should help the Indians offensively for the remainder of the season. This is a big season for Choo financially because he will be eligible for salary arbitration next spring, and there's a chance he will be coming off two quality seasons, which means he will command a hefty raise from the $461,100 salary he is making this sesaon.

Will the Indians explore trying to sign him to a long term deal? Choo's situation is similar to that of several Indians players in the past who have been offered, and accepted, multi-year deals with the Tribe, but one gets the sense that ownership may not be willing to continue that tradition.

We'll see.


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