Agent says Choo’s price skyrocketing

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Agent says Choo’s price skyrocketing

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Can Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds be a $100 million man? Scott Boras, who represents the 31-year-old center fielder who will become a free agent after the season, said the amount, suggested by many MLB general managers, is way too low.

The Reds’ season isn’t over yet. The team clinched a National League wild-card spot earlier this week in a game against the New York Mets, thanks to Choo’s walkoff single.

But Boras, who earlier this year got Korean sensation Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers a six-year, $60 million contract, seems like he is already marketing another royal Korean client.

CBS’ Jon Heyman conducted a poll with several general managers in the big leagues, and said most of the GMs said the proper price range for the Reds’ leadoff hitter is about $90 million to $100 million for a multi-year contract. But Boras said Choo is worth more than that.

“No way,” Boras said in a phone interview with Heyman. “As a custom of the industry, prognostications by executives this time of year are dramatically divergent from the real market. I don’t think anyone correctly predicted what Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford got correctly.”

One interesting point is that Boras mentioned players for the first time in the media whom other people can compare with Choo, which is Boras’ typical strategy in raising his client’s salary.

Boras said Choo’s records are coordinative or could be better than the two. Three years ago, Werth signed a seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals for $127 million and Crawford, who now plays for the Dodgers, also signed a seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox for $126 million.

Boras said Werth signed his contract at the age of 32 with a career batting average of .273 and an .836 OPS. Choo is one year younger with a career batting average of .288 and an .854 OPS. He added that Choo also can cover all the outfield positions while Crawford mostly plays in left field.

“Not many teams have a leadoff hitter like Choo,” he said. “Look if there are other teams having a five-tool leadoff hitter who can hit more than 20 home runs, more than 20 steals with above .400 on base percentage with decent fielding abilities other than the Reds. He proved that he can play in center field for a full season and he used to perform at a Gold Glove-level in right field. I don’t see any other players like Choo in the upcoming off season.”

If Choo signs a contract worth more than $100 million, he will be the first MLB player to do so without being selected to an All-Star team in the past.

“It’s the toughest position to be selected as an All-Star, especially if he is a leadoff guy,” Boras said. “Corner sluggers who hit many home runs used to be selected as All-Stars.”

Heyman predicted the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets would be the top potential bidders for Choo, and the San Francisco Giants and Red Sox might also seek Choo if they fail to re-sign Hunter Pence and Jacoby Ellsbury, respectively.


BY KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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