March 12, 2010 12:06
Major League Baseball player Choo Shin-soo has signed a one-year deal with his team the Cleveland Indians. The Indians "agreed to terms with the remaining 32 unsigned players on their 40-man roster Wednesday. All of the players agreed to one-year contracts for 2010," including right fielder Choo, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
Choo had hopes of a long-term deal after partnering with a new "super agent" Scott Boras last month, but just one day before the deadline he agreed to the short-term contract. Because he has played only two full seasons in the MLB, Choo is not eligible for salary arbitration, which is granted after three full seasons. Under league regulations, he will earn slightly more this year than the US$420,000 he made last year.
Normally MLB players push for a multiyear contract one year before qualifying for arbitration, but Choo faces an obstacle -- the unresolved issue over his military obligation. Korean men are required to serve two years in the military before they turn 30 years old. Choo turns 28 this year and has not yet served. The Indians are apparently reluctant to sign a long-term deal with Choo while this issue is unsettled.
If Choo has a successful season in the MLB this year, and can have his military obligation waived by helping Korea win the gold medal in the Asian Games in China this November, the cards will be in his hands next year.
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