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Pirates trade rumors: Bucs wanted Shin-Soo Choo in potential blockbuster, according to report

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Jayson Stark reports the Pirates were interested in the Indians outfielder -- but why?

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Jayson Stark writes that, at the Winter Meetings, the Pirates were, for some reason, interested in Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

Also heard from 2 execs that #Pirates were one of teams on periphery of 4-team trade talks at winter meetings. Had interest in Shin-Soo Choo

This doesn't make much sense, at least not if you don't believe Neal Huntington's interest in players from his previous organization is all-consuming. The Pirates were reportedly interested in Choo in July, and Choo is a good hitter who would be an upgrade in the Pirates' outfield. But the Bucs already have a ton of options at outfield and first base, so adding Choo would only really work if he came very cheaply or the Pirates were planning a series of other moves. The latter isn't impossible, but it isn't very likely either. If the Pirates were to deal for Choo, their trade of Brad Lincoln for Travis Snider at the deadline would suddenly look very strange, because there would be no place for Snider to play.

The four-team trade in question involved the Diamondbacks, Indians, Rangers and either the Rays or Mariners exchanging Justin Upton, Asdrubal Cabrera, and possibly Mike Olt and James Shields. Shields, obviously, was traded to Kansas City, and the four-team deal no longer looks likely.

Via Pirates Prospects.

UPDATE: Danny Knobler writes that the Reds are close to acquiring Choo for Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregorius, giving the Indians an interesting buy-low opportunity on Stubbs, for whatever that's worth. Knobler also writes that the Reds would use Choo in center field, which is bizarre -- he probably should just be used as a corner outfielder at this point, since his defense appears to have declined dramatically in the past couple years.

UPDATE: The Choo-to-Cincinnati deal is done, and it's a three-team trade with the Indians, Reds and Diamondbacks. The Indians gave up Choo and Jason Donald to the Reds and Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson to the D'Backs, and they got Trevor Bauer, Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. (The Reds also sent Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks.) That's an amazing return for the Indians, who get not just Stubbs, who's a good buy-low candidate, but Bauer. It's amazing how fast Bauer has fallen from "Why did the Pirates not pick him instead of Gerrit Cole?" to "traded for Didi Gregorius," but that's where we are, even though Bauer's minor-league performance last year was still very good. This looks so terrible from the Diamondbacks' perspective that it's almost suspicious, but of course they know Bauer better than anyone. And if the Reds really do go through with their plan to play Choo in center, it doesn't make much sense for them, either.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.