Longtime Major League outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has re-signed for a third season with the KBO League’s SSG Landers, according to reports out of South Korea (hat tip to MyKBO.net’s Dan Kurtz). Choo will receive 1.7 billion won, or roughly $1.32MM in U.S. dollars. This represents a significant pay cut from Choo’s 2.7 billion won/$2.3MM salary in 2022, but the two sides agreed to the deal to help the Landers stay under the KBO’s new salary cap.
Choo (who turned 40 in July) will be entering his 23rd season in pro baseball. Signing an amateur deal with the Mariners as an 18-year-old Choo had never actually played in the KBO League until he joined SSG Landers in the 2020-21 offseason. Even at his increased age, Choo has still been productive in his home country, hitting .261/.397/.441 with 37 home runs over 1074 plate appearances and 248 games with the Landers since the start of the 2021 season. This run in the KBO was highlighted by the Landers’ triumphant 2022 campaign, which saw the club post a league-best 88-52 record in the regular season and then capture its fifth Korean Series title.
Over 16 seasons of Major League ball, Choo was usually a very productive hitter, posting a .275/.377/.447 slash line over 7157 career PA in the Show with Seattle, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Texas. Choo’s defensive struggles limited his overall value, though he still posted 34 fWAR over his MLB tenure, and his career 123 wRC+ was solidly above average. There was some speculation last winter that Choo might be considering a return to the majors, but no such news publicly surfaced this winter, and Choo will now return to the Landers in search of another championship.