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Arizona Diamondbacks: Why Shin-Soo Choo Should Be Top Free-Agent Target

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Sure, it would be nice for the Arizona Diamondbacks to acquire Robinson Cano (too expensive), Jacoby Ellsbury (overrated) or someone to help that very charitable bullpen.

But the Diamondbacks aren't going to spend that kind of big money when Paul Goldschmidt will likely get (and deserve) it.

Although a guy like Justin Morneau would be a good fit in the lineup, he wouldn't be able to see the field behind Goldschmidt. There are a lot of quality starting pitchers on the market, but the Diamondbacks are still pretty solid there as well.

They need a left-handed power threat to protect Goldschmidt, they could use more speed, and defensive strength up the middle is always important. That's why they should go after Shin-Soo Choo.

POWER, SPEED AND PATIENCE

Choo isn't a feared power hitter, but he's good for 17-22 dingers each season. That's enough for pitchers to take notice of him and realize they can't simply pitch around others to get to him. Choo hit 21 home runs in 2013 and has averaged 20 per-162 games in his career.

The basepaths have been a major issue for the Diamondbacks and was supposed to get better with Adam Eaton leading off. In 2013, they were No . 14 in the National League in steals and Eaton had five in 66 games. So much for that. In his last four full seasons, Choo has eclipsed 20 steals each year. Choo also averages 20 steals for every 162 games in his career.

For the first time in his career, Choo walked more than 100 times (112 to be exact). That kind of patience is something the Diamondbacks have been searching for and is a main reason why Mark Reynolds and Chris Young were traded. Choo's .423 on-base percentage was second in the National League to his teammate Joey Votto (.435).

DEFENSE

Although his range took a nosedive in 2013, Choo is still an above-average fielder that doesn't make many mistakes. Advanced metrics don't love him but in his 153 games, he committed just four errors. That .989 fielding percentage beats the league average of .986.

His nine assists from the outfield (eight from center) put him No. 4 in the National League, tied with the Diamondbacks' own A.J. Pollock. It's a far cry from Gerardo Parra's 15 in right field, but it's still respectable.

The only major issue with Choo in the outfield is that he blocks the development of Pollock and Eaton. The Diamondbacks would have to come up with a long-term plan to figure out whether to make a trade to address bullpen issues, or simply let them wait until Choo's contract runs out (he's 31 already).

PRODUCTION OUTWEIGHS SALARY

As mentioned earlier, the Diamondbacks aren't going to be writing any blank checks and they're surely not giving a nine-figure contract to anyone not nicknamed "Goldy." This is why Choo is a better option than someone like Ellsbury.

At 31 years of age, Choo isn't going to be receiving a massive contract that spans a half of a decade. With that said, his agent is Scott Boras, so never say never.

If the Diamondbacks offered him something in the range of $9-12 million annually over three years, they'll be in the running. They might have to use some creative financing to make the numbers more advantageous for them, but Choo has enough left in the tank to give good return on that investment.

It wouldn't make a huge splash with the locals and isn't the sexiest name on the market, but Choo is the kind of hard worker that the Diamondbacks want on their roster. He has power, speed and patience, and he can defend his position and won't break the bank.

Michael Dunlap covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of HoopsHabit.com.

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