big league choo

Here's a nice Yahoo! Sports profile on South Korean slugger Shin-Soo Choo, outfielder for the Cleveland Indians. His journey to a career in the Majors began a long time ago, but it looks like the hard work is paying -- he's kicking some serious ass this season: He's become Big League Choo.

Choo is definitely a player to watch, but does the future hold for his career? There's a lot up in the air, with multiple factors weighing in, including the impending mandatory two-year military service he owes South Korea:
The exact length of his career - both as an Indian and as a major leaguer - is a bubbling topic in Cleveland. Choo will become arbitration eligible next winter and, as much as the Indians favor cost certainty through multi-year contracts, Boras generally lets year-by-year arbitration and, eventually, free agency, to run their natural courses.

Also, Choo, like all able-bodied South Korean men, owes his country two years of military service by the time he is 30. There are ways around it. Choo could request an extension, become a U.S. citizen, simply refuse to return to Korea or, ideally, help Korea win a major international baseball tournament (the South Korean government has waved the requirement in some cases). The Koreans likely will be favorites in November's Asian championships, but there is no guarantee Choo will be named to the team. KBO officials might rather reserve possible military deferments for their own players.
A month into 2010, Choo leads American League right fielders in batting (.329) and on-base percentage (.449), and is among the leaders in home runs, steals and RBIs. Often compared to Vladimir Guerrero in his prime and Ichiro Suzuki, there are few -- if any -- better outfield arms in baseball. The Indians will have a decision to make when Choo becomes arbitration eligible next year.

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