The Indians traded first baseman Ben Broussard to the Seattle Mariners today for young outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and a player to be named. Choo, 24, will come directly to Cleveland and likely be in the lineup Friday night when the Mariners open a three-game series at Jacobs Field.
"He's a versatile outfielder who will come to the big leagues immediately," said Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, of Choo, a 5-11, 210-pound left-handed hitting outfielder.
At Class AAA Tacoma this season, Choo hit .323 (121-for-375) with 21 doubles, three triples, 13 homers and 48 RBI in 94 games and represented the Pacific Coast League in the Triple A All-Star game. He has also scored 71 runs and has
26 stolen bases in 30 attempts.
"He's an above-average runner, but he's not going to be a 60-steal guy," said Shapiro.
"He has very good strike-zone recognition and has hit at every level he's played. He has gap power and hits right-handers extremely well.
"He's a plus athlete who as a pitcher threw in the 90s before being converted to outfield full time. We feel he has the speed and arm to be an above-average corner outfielder."
Shapiro said that Casey Blake would play first base against left-handed pitching with catcher Victor Martinez being used at that position more against right-handers.
As part of the deal, the Indians agreed to pay a portion of Broussard's remaining salary this season and Seattle will ship a player to be named to Cleveland. Shapiro termed the second player to be "meaningful", but would not disclose the list of names from which the Indians can pick.
Choo has appeared in 51 games in left field, 30
games in right field, 12 games in centerfield and 1 game at DH at Tacoma, where he ranks ninth in the PCL in average (.323), second in hits (121) and steals (26) and fifth in runs scored (70).
He hit .361 (106-for-294) against right-handers at Tacoma.
Choo, a native of Korea, appeared in four games with the Mariners from July 3-13, batting .091 (1-for-11). Prior to the season he was named the 7th best prospect in the Mariners organization by Baseball America.
In 2005, he batted .282 (121-for-429) with 73 runs, 21 doubles, five triples, 11 homers and 54 RBI in 115 games at Tacoma and went 1-for-18 (.056) with the Mariners.
Shapiro got a good report on Choo from Buffalo Bisons manager Torey Lovullo. The manager of the Indians' Triple-A team managed Choo in the Arizona Fall League in 2004.
Shapiro said six teams inquired about Broussard, who batted .321 (86-for-268) with 44 runs, 14 doubles, 13 homers and 46 RBI in 88 games with the Indians this year.
"This trade is a by-product of the year Ben is having," said Shapiro. "In light of where we are (in the standings) and that there was a lot of interest in Ben, we decided to make this trade.
"As the trade deadline approached, I figured that Ben would have the same role with us next year, given what he has done. Obviously, things have changed."