8:29pm: Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News reports that Choo told Korean media last week that he trying to decide whether to return to KBO or retire. He also adds that Choo is not a free agent and hasn’t told the Landers about any intention of returning to MLB.
6:55pm: After sixteen seasons in the major leagues, Shin-soo Choo returned to his native South Korea in February. The former All-Star signed a one-year, $2.4MM contract with the KBO’s SSG Landers, telling reporters at the time that he turned down bigger offers from MLB teams to have an opportunity to play in front of his family.
That seemed likely to close the book on Choo’s playing career in the United States, but that may not necessarily be the case. Choo is hoping to sign a major league contract this offseason, reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). He’s already fielded interest from teams on minor league offers, but Speier adds that he isn’t expected to leave the KBO unless he receives a guaranteed big league deal.
Choo is coming off a strong showing with the Landers. Across 580 trips to the plate, he hit .265/.409/.451 with 21 home runs. The fantastic plate discipline that Choo annually demonstrated in the majors carried over into his new environment, as he walked at a massive 17.9% clip against a 21.2% strikeout rate. Choo’s .860 OPS ranked twelfth among the 74 hitters with 300+ KBO plate appearances.
Whether that’ll be enough to earn Choo a major league job remains to be seen. The 39-year-old had hit at a slightly above-average level for much of his tenure with the Rangers, but he became increasingly strikeout-prone towards the end of his big league career. He’s also limited to the corner outfield, where defensive metrics have pegged him as a well below-average defender for years. The potential introduction of the designated hitter to the National League in collective bargaining talks could expand Choo’s market a bit, but most teams have preferred to cycle multiple players through that spot rather than commit anyone there in an everyday capacity. Clubs have made exceptions for elite bats like Nelson Cruz and J.D. Martinez, but Choo’s offensive numbers later in his career have been more solid than great.
I don’t know man, I just don’t know. Lol
The Mets "Missed WAR"
So Choo “turned down bigger offers from MLB teams” to go play in Korea but now he wants to come back to MLB? If those bigger offers were really there why did he leave in the first place? He was willing to take a discount to play in Korea but now he wants out? Why did he sour on his home country so quickly? I’m thinking the “bigger offers” had incentives tied into them making the potential salary higher but the guaranteed salary less.
Playing in front of fans might’ve been a driving factor, especially if it wasn’t all that much of a paycut. Attendance was very much up in air earlier this MLB season
Nah, as far as I remember, he left to stay closer to his family when the covid outbreak began to be something major
What if this season became another 60 gamer and salaries got pro-rated again? That risk could have factored into his decision as well.
Could he play in the majors again? The idea is something to Choo on.
Seriously though, Choo has always had one of the sweetest looking swings I’ve ever seen, and I’d love to see him give MLB one more go around.
Breaking News: Manny Ramirez trying to make another comeback with DH coming to both leagues
Manny Ramirez still has to serve a 100 game suspension if and when he returns.
What if it’s a minors deal
Chipper Jones' illegitimate kid
If DH comes to the NL, I could see Choo back in the MLB. Slot him in with the Pirates on a cheap deal so they can flip him at the trade deadline for new pair of slacks and a glow-in-the-dark yoyo.
As a Pirates fan, it’s actually not a ridiculous idea. They lack a lot of things, which include in guys with on base ability.
Just no lol. The Pirates don’t need a 39 year old in terms of ‘hoping’ he’s good enough to flip. They need actual major league talent.
If DH happens then Chi-Town on the North Side is where he should sign because the yard is short and he would fit perfectly with a team tanking…
Will always have a ton of respect for Choo after stepping up and paying every minor leaguer in the Rangers system during the 2020 pandemic. Any team would be lucky to have him in their organization.
This is so true. Classy dude.
He wants a Major League OpporCHOOnity
Jack Morris got fired for less lol
Big League Choo.
he could help a lot of teams if universal DH goes into effect. on base percentage guy with some power, his bat still plays
I can’t see him getting a MLB deal until maybe after the CBA and we know for sure whether the NL will have a DH or not
I’ve always liked the guy. Not a fan of any of the teams he’s played for, but I’ve always respected his game
He should get a deal, just not likely with a contender. Always liked choo, got his auto in San Antonio when he was doing rehab with Frisco. He was definitely popular here in SA
Dumpster Divin Theo
You parked his car? Sweet!
I hear the Mets have an opening for someone looking for an opportunity.
Over there, Choo played to the equivalent of AA Ball and got decent numbers, I wish him luck.
Love Choo, but dont think his numbers last year and his age make such a move likely.
No Soup For Yu!
Just out of curiosity if anyone can answer. KBO teams are capped at 3 foreign players on their roster each year. Choo is Korean, but he never played in the KBO before coming to the states. Does he qualify as a foreign player because of his MLB career coming before his KBO career, or is it just as simple as, “He’s Korean, so he’s not a foreign player under the rule.”
I’m looking for a major league deal, too!
Does anybody know if he’s a JR? Because he definitely displays junior behavior.
Whatever he does, I’m rooting for him.
Loved him during his brief Cincinnati days. Really a class dude!
His career just didn’t pan out in MLB. He made a lot of bread.
Choo how many championships dis you win with the team you always wanted to play for?
A reunion with the Guardians? He would be an improvement from any in-house option
Peart of the game
He also stole 25 bases in 34 attempts this year.