The Indians fan base was collectively shocked on Wednesday night when a Paul Hoynes report claimed that outfielder Shin-Soo Choo wants to “transfer” to a team that wins more often. Citing an interview with a reporter from the Korean Times, Choo reportedly said – in an oddly translated sentence – winning would help him improve more as a player.
And while the Indians are standing by their direct talks with the player, stating that Choo has expressed a desire to win in Cleveland, fans of the team decided to overreact and shout from their e-rooftops that Choo was as goodas gone. Oh, and this one too. Oof.
This is where I point the ill-informed to Jon Steiner’s most excellent piece from about a week ago, laying out what Choo will be looking at in arbitration this offseason. In said piece, he stated:
It’s also worth noting that there are some things that the end of Choo’s pre-arbitration years DO NOT MEAN. Most importantly among these, it doesn’t mean that another team can outbid the Indians—only the Indians can sign Choo for next year. If you need it, here is my personal guarantee: SHIN-SOO CHOO WILL BE AN INDIAN NEXT YEAR. Yes, they could trade him this off-season, but let’s get serious. That ain’t happening.
I, for one, do not understand how this cannot be explained more clearly. For one reason or another – most likely because the Tribe front office has avoided it like the plague – fans seem to think that the word “arbitration” means that a player can leave if the team opts to not match the demands of the player and his representative.
The same free wheeling and dealing player compensation structure that we all enjoy complaining about during free agency is actually working in the Indians’ favor this season. Sure, Choo will be looking at a pay raise this offseason – after all, if in fact it goes to arbitration, it is evident that he is worth more than his current salary – but the stud right fielder is under club control for three more seasons.
Which means that Choo can go into each offseason looking for a one-year hike in pay via arbitration or (as most 28-year old players should), look to sign a contract that would guarantee an increasing rate of compensation for the next three or so seasons.
As Jon also mentioned, the three-year deal is in the best interest of both parties.
From the Indians’ perspective, avoiding arbitration means you don’t have to tell Choo (to his face—players attend these hearings) that he’s not good enough to make half of what Travis Hafner makes. Wouldn’t you want to avoid that as your first job if you were Chris Antonetti?
And From ChooBoras’s opinion, you’re likely to get hosed in arbitration anyway. And regardless, you’d like some security in case you get injured.
It makes so much sense to me to sign a three-year contract. Which means it probably won’t happen. So here are three predictions:
They go to arbitration. ChooBoras lose their $5.5 million demand. Choo makes $3.9 million.
They sign a one-year deal worth $4.5 million.
They sign a three-year deal: 2011 – $4 million; 2012 – $6.5 million; 2013 – $10.5 million.
Now, of course, this does not alleviate the team of a player who may or may not want to be playing in Cleveland. After all, the team didwin just 69 games this season and offers little to no help to the Korean star when it comes to protection and opportunities for the occasional run batted in.
Paul from The DiaTribe covered the Choo-to-Detroit talkfrom about a week ago, explaining the link between Scott Boras and the Tigers (Pudge Rodriguez, Magglio Ordoñez, Johnny Damon) coupled with the Jhonny Peralta happiness and his link to the player involved. And thankfully, as most fans should have prior to overreacting on a meaningless Wednesday night, Paul redirected his readers to Jon’s piece, echoing the same sentiments.
“While that perception may be ultimately true, what it fails to take into consideration is that, you know… he’s under club control THROUGH THE 2013 SEASON!”