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Pick and Choo-se: Signing Outfielder Will Be a Difficult Task for Cleveland

PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 09:  Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Cleveland Indians warms up before the MLB spring training game against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Stadium on March 9, 2010 in Peoria, Arizona. The Indians defeated the Mariners 6-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Joseph WernerContributor IOctober 11, 2010

Chris Antonetti is in a position all too familiar for rookie general managers: being chosen to spearhead his team's rebuilding process. Specifically, the rebuilding of the Cleveland Indians.

As he enters his first off season Antonetti must find the answers to many lingering questions, especially the one regarding right fielder Shin Soo Choo.

Choo, who is arbitration eligible for the first time, is due for a big raise, and will likely get one assuming he is relieved of the military obligation he is facing. The Indians are looking to sign him to a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of four years for $40 million.

Choo's impending military commitment to the South Korean army has been well documented since the preseason. And like every other South Korean male, the Tribe's outfielder is required to serve two years in his country's military before the age of 30. 

However, after failed attempts at winning the World Baseball Classic, Choo may be down to his final chance to avoid his military duty.

Further, if South Korea opts to not excuse Choo, 28, from his military obligation, the team will not only lose prime years of their best player's career, it will also complicate any possibility of signing the rocket-armed right fielder to a long term contract.

But, if South Korea wins the Asian Games next month he will be released from his requirement.

Then Antonetti and the team will only have to deal with his mega-agent Scott Boras.

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