Major leaguer Choo gets huge raiseComing off the best season of his career, South Korean Major League Baseball player Choo Shin-soo received a huge raise for the upcoming season.
The Cleveland Indians outfielder reached a one-year deal worth $3.975 million Wednesday.
The left-handed Choo put up the best numbers of his six-year MLB career in 2010 while making $461,100, slightly above the major league minimum.
Last season, Choo hit for a .300 batting average and set career highs with 22 home runs, 90 RBI, 22 steals and a .401 on-base percentage. He is the first Indians player since 1901 to have back-to-back seasons of at least a .300 batting average, 20 home runs and 20 steals.
With the signing, the Indians and Choo avoided going to salary arbitration. Choo filed for arbitration last weekend and would have been the first Cleveland player since 1991 to take the team to arbitration court.
Choo’s contract situation had been one of the hotly discussed topics this offseason for the Indians.
The 28-year-old is considered an important piece to the puzzle, as the Indians, who have had two losing seasons in a row, try to rebuild for the future.
Scott Boras, Choo’s agent, had been seeking a series of one-year deals until Choo becomes a free agent after the 2013 season. But the Indians have been trying to lock him down with a long-term contract beyond 2013, without risking losing Choo to free agency.
The logic on the player’s side is that Choo, in the prime of his career, could see his stock rise further over the next three or four seasons and could earn more money by signing a free agent deal in 2014 instead of agreeing to a long-term deal now.
Despite the one-year deal, Chris Antonetti, the Indians’ general manager, declined to offer specifics about talks for a long-term deal but did say, “I don’t view the negotiations as being closed at this point.”
Choo made his major league debut in 2005 with the Seattle Mariners but didn’t become a regular until the second half of 2008, then with the Indians.