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.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.