CINCINNATI - Let the bidding begin!
Shin-Soo Choo turned down the Cincinnati Reds' $14.1 million qualifying contract offer Monday, and if the Reds were hoping to re-sign the free-agent outfielder for a bargain price because he liked playing here, they better think again.
Choo's agent, Scott Boras, wants to top his last big free-agent stickup with a contract bigger than the $126 million he got the Nationals to pay Jayson Werth, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty plans to make a pitch to keep Choo, but he's not playing in the same ballpark.
Where might Choo go?
How about the world champion Red Sox?
A Boston-area blogger makes the case that Choo would be a good replacement for center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who is expected to depart in free agency.
Choo was the prototypical leadoff hitter in his first and maybe only season with the Reds. He finished second in NL on-base percentage (.423) behind teammate Joey Votto and hit 21 home runs to boot.
If the Reds can't re-sign Choo, they will receive a compensation pick in the June 2014 first-year player draft.
All of the 13 free agents who received qualifying offers said no thanks.
That included Ellsbury and Red Sox teammates Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew, plus Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda of the Yankees.
The others were Atlanta's Brian McCann, Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez, Kansas City's Ervin Santana, St. Louis' Carlos Beltran, Seattle's Kendrys Morales and Texas' Nelson Cruz.
"That ought to tell you a little bit about their expectations," Mets GM Sandy Alderson said, predicting the possibility of a bull market.
"When we made the qualifying offers, we did not expect anyone to accept," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said.
Cano, an All-Star second baseman, is seeking a 10-year deal in excess of $300 million. That demand sparked the Yankees' interest in trading for the Reds' Brandon Phillips.
The Reds announced that Redsfest will be Dec. 6-7. See details at http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/fan_forum/redsfest.jsp?affiliateId=3D775Z1CX-55