Choo Shin-soo agreed to a seven-year deal worth US$130 million (US$1=W1,061) with the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
This is the largest deal ever reached by an Asian player in Major League Baseball, and the first ever to exceed $100 million. It is the sixth-largest contract ever for an outfielder and 27th overall in the history of the world's top baseball league.
The previous record involving a Korean player was set by Park Chan-ho when he signed with the Rangers as a free agent at the end of 2001 for $65 million. Among Asian players, Japan's Ichiro Suzuki set the previous record by striking a $90-million deal when he re-signed a five-year contract with the Seattle Mariners in 2007.
Choo wanted to join a strong team based in a city with a large Korean population, while the Rangers needed a power hitter to bolster their relatively weak lineup of batters and keep par with their pitchers.
The New York Yankees, who reportedly made Choo a seven-year offer worth $140 million last week, ended up acquiring Jacoby Ellsbury for $153 million for the same period.
As the Yankees had already strengthened their solid group of outfielders, which included Ichiro, the Rangers were a more attractive option for Choo. He may also appreciate the quieter environment that Texas can offer his wife and children compared to life in the Big Apple.
Rangers' General Manager Jon Daniels and Choo negotiated at length over the details of the contract but the final result seems to reflect much of what Choo requested. He will receive $14 million a season in 2014 and 2015, $21 million in 2016 and 2017, and $20 million for each of the remaining three years.