Back in March, I wrote about Cleveland Indians’ outfielder Shin-Soo Choo switching from Octagon to Scott Boras, and his impending service in the South Korean Army. As a South Korean-native, the 28-year old Choo was slated to spend two years in the national Army before reaching 30. However, after winning the gold medal in last week’s Asian Games with his national team, South Korea has rewarded Choo by rescinding his military requirement.
The Indians and Boras are definitely winners alongside Choo in this decision. Shin-Soo is one of the Indians best talents, and his stock is certainly rising. Last year Choo hit .300 and 90 RBIs (top 15 in the American League in both), and 22 homeruns and stolen bases. Indians manager Manny Acta called Choo “one of the best players in the majors right now.” For Boras, taking the risk that one of his rising stars will have to spend two years in the military, away from the game, has paid off. Unlike many other Asian players, Choo did not play professional baseball outside the United States. After being selected as the MVP in the 2000 World Junior Baseball Championship, Choo signed a contract with Seattle Mariners.
New Indians GM Chris Antonetti has said that working out a long-term deal for Choo is a team priority. Choo made $461,100 last season, and is eligible for salary arbitration before the start of the 2011 season. His contract has three more years left on it, but Boras will certainly work to get a substantial raise for his client via arbitration, and look towards a lucrative, possibly long-term deal for Choo.