David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox could use a right fielder, but it's not going to be Shin-Soo Choo unless they pay up
The Red Sox are reportedly interested in Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, and they should be. He's one of the game's more underrated hitters, and the kind of patient and talented hitter they need to stick in the middle of their lineup once more. The problem is that Cleveland is aware of how good Choo is, and doesn't want to give him up cheap despite his having just the one year of team control left. According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, the price for Choo is "front-line" pitching.
To be frank, Boston doesn't have any of that to give up. They need everything they have in the rotation right now, whether it's considered front-line or not. Matt Barnes and Allen Webster aren't likely to be dealt, and the two profile more as number twos at most, or strong mid-rotation arms. Rubby De La Rosa is intriguing in this vein, but is coming off of Tommy John surgery, and might be a reliever. Also, given his ceiling, Boston likely isn't looking to sell him off in exchange for a player with a single year of team control, now matter how good that player might be. The Red Sox are trying to balance competing now with building their next great team, and those three pitchers represent a very realistic three-fifths of their 2015 rotation, with one or more possibly in the majors for good before that time.
With that out of the way, though, here's a possible reality of the situation: the Indians are hoping to get as much as they can for Choo, and have attempted to start the bidding high. As Knobler says, they could hold on to Choo and try to make a run for it in 2013, but they might be better served just selling him off even if it's for B-level prospects, given he has the one year left, and will only get them a single compensation pick if he's extended a qualifying offer at this time next year. "Front-line" pitching is their start point, but there aren't many teams who will line up to spend so much of something so valuable to get a single year of Choo.
That could work to Boston's advantage if they decide to pursue Choo, given they have the prospect depth to make something happen once Cleveland pulls back a bit on their demands. As of now, though, it doesn't sound as if that's part of the plan, given trades are more likely to be used to target players with multiple years of control left, and the Indians sound as if they want that particular thing in return for their goods.