So along about, what? 5:00 yesterday afternoon, you were ranting over how dumb it was for the Reds to either a: trade for Shin Soo Choo or at least b: put him in centerfield. As if Drew Stubbs was some cherished jewel that was traded for a box of pliers. Choo had a couple of adventures in centerfield that suggested it was his first day in long pants. A Stubbs, he is now. And as Marvin Lewis would say, that’s a good thing.
Choo is on this team for one reason and one reason only: he can get on base. Stubbs is not on this team for several reasons. But the biggest reason Stubbs is not on this team is he can not get on base. Defensively, Stubbs probably saves 9-12 wins per season. But offensively, he probably costs is team twice that number through his inability to get on base, or drive in runs or do anything with a bat that furthers a team’s cause.
Choo certainly won’t cost the Reds 18-24 wins a season because he’s not the defender Stubbs is. In truth, he’s better than adequate as a centerfielder. But his ability to get on base (at a .400 clip last season vs right handed pitching) is a complete game changer. Joey Votto had 18 home runs before he hurt his knee in late June. He also had just 47 RBI. The disparity in that production should tell you how few runners were on base when Votto knocked the ball over the fence. And with a runner on base when Votto is batting, other things happen that would benefit Votto. The pitcher will have to pitch out of the stretch. He’ll be distracted somewhat by the runner. And because of all that, Votto (and Phillips and Bruce and Frazier after him) will have a significant advantage over the pitcher. That’s what Choo offers, and what Stubbs could not.