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Shin-Soo Choo to skip World Baseball Classic to focus on upcoming season

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger
Shin-Soo Choo played for Korea in the 2010 Asian Games and the 2009 World Baseball Classic. (Getty Images)

Two Japanese stars -- Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma -- already have said they won't be playing in the World Baseball Classic, and now Korea's most notable player, Shin-Soo Choo is bowing out of March's tournament.

Choo's agent, Scott Boras, said the Indians' outfielder would concentrate on the upcoming season in Cleveland, his last before he hits free agency, instead of playing in the WBC, according to John Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com. Choo had home runs in the semifinals and finals of the 2009 WBC, including a solo homer off of Iwakuma in the championship game.

The Indians allowed him to play in the 2009 WBC under conditions that limited his play in the otufield in the first two rounds of play.

Choo, 30, will be in his final season of arbitration eligibility next year after making $4.9 million this past season. There has been chatter that the Indians would look to trade Choo this offseason before he leaves for free agency.

At the general manager meeting recently, Boras let it be known that it's unlikely Choo would re-sign with the Indians.

"Choo's let it be known that he has a desire to win," Boras told reporters (via MLB.com). "I think the ownership in Cleveland, foundationally, they're going to have to illustrate some dynamics with new revenues and where they stand about what they do to show their fan base and their players who they are in competing.

"That's a new calling that they are going to have to bring forth to give players, and everybody involved, [an idea] about what their intentions are in their ownership."

In plain language, that means Boras wants the Indians to spend some money on contracts and is using Choo as leverage. The team could choose to trade him instead.

Choo rebounded from his down 2011 to put up more typical numbers in 2012, when he hit .283/.373/.441 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI to go along with 21 steals. That, along with a promise not to play in the WBC, could make the right fielder more attractive to potential suitors.

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