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Choo Shin-soo returns to South Korea

Posted February. 24, 2021 07:41,   

Updated February. 24, 2021 07:41


Choo Shin-soo became a free agent last year after his seven-year contract with the Texas Rangers ended. While training personally and waiting for other teams’ recruitment proposals, he thought about retirement. He did not consider returning to South Korea. Even to his friends, he denied rumors about his return, saying, “Where would a player unwanted in the U.S. go?”

Unlike his determination, SK Wyverns have been carefully sounding out his recruitment to the team since the beginning of this year. The team asked Choo to return to his home country next year, if not sooner, through his agent.

Things took a sudden turn as Shinsegae Group acquired SK Wyverns last month. Shinsegae, which needed a star player for the team’s new beginning, actively sought to recruit Choo. Vice-chairman of the group Chung Yong-jin also showed a big interest in the matter. “As Vice Chairman Chung said it would be nice to recruit Choo for fans in Incheon after the acquisition of the baseball team was confirmed, the club proceeded with necessary procedures,” said a member of Shinsegae Group.

With the MLB spring camp coming soon, Choo received proposals from eight teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, and Pittsburgh Pirates. What Choo wanted was a team in which he can play in the postseason. It is reported that he received an annual salary offer of three million dollars.

Choo who was thinking about whether to stay in the U.S. or return to South Korea decided to return home after discussions with his family. “Choo has a strong pride. He did not want to return home in a bad condition. He was determined to return when he can still perform well,” said Song Jae-woo, the director of Choo’s South Korean agent Galaxia SM.

Shinsegae welcomed Choo by offering the annual salary of 2.7 billion won, which is the highest level in the KBO League, and was able to finalize the recruitment of Choo on Tuesday, the same day when the formal agreement to acquire SK Wyverns was signed.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com · Tae-Ho Hwang taeho@donga.com