August 1, 2014

Shin-Soo Choo to Indians: “I will always be thankful”

It’s easy to dismiss some of the meaningful stories that can occur with success in baseball. For Indians fans in February 2013, filled with optimism after the signing of two high-profile free agent outfielders, that means the amazing ascent to relevance by former fan-favorite Shin-Soo Choo.

In a fairly emotional article by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that just posted early this morning, Choo made public a letter that he sent over to Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti this offseason shortly after the trade that landed him in Cincinnati and Trevor Bauer (among others) in Cleveland.

Choo’s letter said: “I want you to know that my family and I will always be thankful for this opportunity and want you to know how much I will remember the chance I was given in Cleveland … Because I firmly believe that without this opportunity, there is no Shin-Soo Choo and I would not be remembered.”

Rosenthal’s article also shared Choo’s initial reaction (shock) when he heard he’d be playing center field for the Reds. Among the other quotes related to Antonetti and the Indians, this also was very touching: “You have a lot of young and talented players … but most importantly … players that will listen and follow your leadership … As a result, I know you will get great performances and results in the near future.”

Of course, going to the way-back time machine as you might recall, Choo was one of several Mariners prospects the Indians somehow poached in the mid-’00s. Acquired along with Shawn Nottingham for Ben Broussard and cash in July 2006, he appeared in only 14 MLB games with the Mariners.

With more steady playing time in Cleveland, the now-30-year-old South Korean then blossomed into one of the better outfielders in the American League, as highlighted by back-to-back 5+ WAR seasons in 2009-10. He is likely to reel in a huge payday this coming offseason after his potential one-year rental stint with the Reds.

[Related: Cleveland Indians makeover is fun, but will it work?]

  • SDA

    I am always thankful when professional athletes act professional instead of like spoiled little children.

  • OR PICK A NAME

    Don’t you hate that feeling of conflict when a player you like goes to a team you don’t?

  • FearTheRoo

    I wish I could root for Choo, but as long as he’s on the Reds I just can’t. Same could be said if he ended up in Pittsburgh.

  • Seanh529

    Nice message, but not signing a contract makes this seem like a PR move. We look better off on paper so I can’t complain.

  • Kildawg

    Better the Reds than Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, New York, Boston, or even LA. I don’t get some of the Reds hate here as I like them as a second-favorite and would personally love to see a Battle of Ohio World Series (with the Indians winning of course ;) ).

  • NoVA Buckeye

    He’s gonna get his $36 mil a year that the Dolans (nor anyone with a brain) would never pay him with the Bankees next year, so hate should escalate in a year’s time.

  • Adam