Will Choo sign before Christmas?

December 16, 2013
Just when will Shin-soo Choo, left, sign? Even Hyun-jin Ryu must be curious. (Korea Times File)

Just when will Shin-soo Choo, left, sign? Even Hyun-jin Ryu must be curious. (Korea Times File)


Some potential suitors for Korean free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, 31, have gone in different directions this week at the Winter Meetings.

Does this mean it won’t be a Merry Christmas for Choo? Will he have to wait until next year?

In recent days, Choo seemingly lost the New York Yankees as an option when they opted to sign Jacoby Ellsbury AND Carlos Beltran instead. During the Winter Meetings, the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks were discussed as leading suitors for Choo, but that changed very quickly. On Tuesday, Arizona swung a three-way trade to acquire power hitter Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels, and on Wednesday, Seattle signed free agent power hitter Corey Hart and also traded for Logan Morrison.

The Detriot Tigers also went out and signed speedy outfielder Rajai Davis to disappoint Choo.

The Texas Rangers remain interested, but they look determined to stick to the price they’ve set, and the Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Friday, “We haven’t made any progress. I think we have to move on.”

In regards to the Reds, it does not help that they have Billy Hamilton, 23, who stole a whopping 338 bases over past three minor league seasons.

Still, Choo’s ‘super agent’ Scott Boras declined to put a timetable on when his client might be signed. “I think Choo has gone to the Meetings, met with the teams, [is] very methodical, very patient, an in-depth thinker,” Boras said. “I don’t think there’s any need on his part to make a rapid decision. The fact of the matter is, this market is a little bit further along for him than players you see sign later in January.”

It’s actually ‘normal’ for Boras clients to be the last ones to sign – like Kevin Brown and Manny Ramirez did with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Just last year, Prince Fielder was on the market until the middle of January.

It only takes one team for Choo to get the kind of money he wants, and the SB Nation is reporting that team could be the lowly Houston Astros. Signing with the Astros would go against everything Choo has been saying about wanting to play for a winning team – as the Astros have lost more than 100 games three seasons in a row – but they may be the only team willing to give Choo a similar deal ($153 million for 7-years) as Ellsbury, who is also a Boras’ client.

It’ll be interesting to see if Choo signs with the Astros, because if he does, he could end up making as much as their entire roster made last season. The average salary for a 2013 Houston Astro was less than one million dollars.