Good news for Indians fans.
According to Jordan Bastian, MLB.com’s new Indians beat writer, South Korea defeated Taiwan 9-3 on Friday in the final of the Asian Games. Tribe outfielder Shin-Soo Choo should now be exempt from Korea’s required two-year military service.
Choo batted .300/.401/.484 with 22 home runs, 90 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 144 games for the Indians in 2010 and he hit .300/.394/.489 with 20 homers, 86 RBI and 20 steals the year before. With Grady Sizemore hurt, he’s probably been Cleveland’s most valuable position player over the last two seasons.
Had Korea not won, Choo might have tried to become a United States citizen in order to avoid the military stint. But that certainly wouldn’t have gone over well in his home country and it’s far more fun that he beat the odds in a Hollywood-esque “play for your freedom” type of challenge.
Updates were hard to come by throughout the Asian Games, but we do know that Choo went 6-for-10 with three home runs and nine RBI over the first four games of the tournament.
The Indians, if so inclined, can now feel comfortable about discussing a contract extension with the 28-year-old. He is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.
UPDATE: Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Choo drove in two runs in the championship game. Can the story get any better?
In a column published on Sunday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Padres are “aggressively shopping” third baseman Yangervis Solarte. The 29-year-old is entering his first of three years of arbitration eligibility and is projected to earn $2.7 million next season.
This past season, Solarte hit a solid .286/.341/.467 with 15 home runs and 71 RBI in 443 plate appearances. It’s quite impressive factoring in that he plays in the pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Given that Solarte is team-controlled for three more years and he offers lots of versatility with previous experience playing first and second base as well as corner outfield, the Padres should receive a fair amount of interest.
Update (6:52 PM EST): The deal is expected to be one year for $13 million, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms the report.
The Yankees are close to signing veteran free agent Matt Holliday, WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reports.
Holliday, who turns 37 years old next month, was limited to 110 games in 2016 with the Cardinals due to a fractured left thumb suffered in the second half. He finished the season hitting .246/.322/.461 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI in 426 plate appearances.
Holliday is likely looking at spending the majority of his time in the DH role. Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann handled the DH role for a majority of the time last season but all three have moved on — Rodriguez was released in the second half, Beltran just signed with the Astros, and McCann was traded to the Astros last month.