The Indians and Shin-Soo Choo avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $3.975MM earlier this month, but the two sides continue to discuss a multiyear contract even with that deal in place. Choo told MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince that he’s open to talking about a long-term deal during Spring Training, but not once the season begins (Twitter links).
Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that Choo will be exempt from mandatory military service in South Korea after helping his home country win gold at the Asia Games earlier this winter, though he will still have to take part in four weeks of training in November (Twitter link). Choo praised his agent, telling Castrovince “I really trust my agent, Scott Boras. My arbitration year, I didn’t call him at all. I just trust him and he takes care of me.”
Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at the 28-year-old Choo as a potential extension candidate back in September, saying that Nick Markakis‘ six-year, $66MM contract could be used as a basis for comparison. Since coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2008, the one they call Big League Choo has hit .302/.397/.500 with 56 homers and 47 steals in 1,701 plate appearances. Albert Pujols set a similar deadline for his extension, though Choo will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season.