Choo Shin-soo (AP-Yonhap News)
South Korean baseball player Choo Shin-soo is seeing a surge in his value in the last season of his contract with the Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds.
The 31-year-old center fielder stepped up in the 2012-13 season as an elite hitter in the MLB by putting up big numbers, batting 0.300 with a team-leading nine home-runs and recording 0.449 on base percentage, the second highest in the National League.
Although it is still relatively early in the season, inspired fans are hoping Choo will become the first Korean since Park Chan-ho to play in an MLB all-star game.
The Reds general manager Walk Jocketty was quoted by U.S. media as saying that Choo is a big plus for the team and “the lift we were looking for, offensively.”
While Choo’s outstanding contribution is a big boost for the team’s 29-18 record, Reds fans are concerned that they might lose their newfound hero after the season. Choo, who is making $7.3 million this season, is expected to test the free agency in the off-season.
Considering his age and talent, this is widely viewed as a prime time for Choo to get a long-term contract and Choo’s numbers indicate the new deal will not come cheap.
This spells trouble for Cincinnati, as their payroll has already surpassed $100 million and does not have a lot of wiggle room in their books.
“Would we love to (sign Choo)? Absolutely. But we have to really look and see where our financial revenues and financial projections of future revenues are. It’s still a little early to do that,” Jocketty was quoted as saying in an MLB.com article on Thursday.
With the future of Choo’s tenure at Cincinnati unclear, potential destinations for him are being thrown out with the New York Mets being one of them.
Earlier in the week, the New York Times posted an article about how the rebuilding Mets should make a bid for Choo.
“If the Mets really want to contend sometime soon, they should make a strong attempt to sign him (Choo) as a free agent after the season,” the article said.
Speculations are flying around but Choo himself said that he is not thinking about new teams right now and that he will focus on his play.
The Korea Herald