Choo turns down Reds' qualifying offer
Outfielder seeks multiyear deal as free agent but could stay in Cincinnati
Shin-Soo Choo has chosen to reject the qualifying offer of $14.1 million made to him last week by the Cincinnati Reds.
By making that offer, the Reds put themselves into position to receive a compensation pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft if the free-agent outfielder ends up signing with another team. All compensatory picks come between the first and second rounds, and are made in reverse order of winning percentage.
The Reds plan to continue negotiating with Choo, hoping that his pleasant 2013 experiences in the Queen City play in their favor.
"We hope to be able to put something together that might interest him," general manager Walt Jocketty said when presenting the qualifying offer last Monday. "We think he enjoyed his time with us and would entertain, if we had a competitive offer, to come back with us."
Choo's rejection is not an unexpected decision. The 31-year-old Scott Boras client has reportedly targeted the seven-year, $126 million contract signed by Jayson Werth prior to the 2011 season as the starting point for his own negotiations. Werth was also 31 when he became the Nationals' right fielder -- also considered Choo's ideal position, even though in Cincinnati he moved to center to accommodate Jay Bruce.
In 151 games as Cincinnati's leadoff man, Choo batted .285 with 21 home runs, 54 RBIs and 107 runs. He led all Major League leadoff hitters with 116 walks and his .423 on-base percentage trailed only teammate Joey Votto in the National League. Choo was hit by a pitch a Major League-leading 26 times, a new franchise record.
Choo's decision reflected the choices made by the other dozen Major Leaguers who had received qualifying offers and had to move on them by Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline.
The across-the-board rejections continued the trend established last year, the first for the qualifying-offer process, when all nine players turned down what then was a $13.3 million tender. Those nine wound up signing contracts with an average 2013 value of $12.2 million -- but eight of the nine agreed to multiyear deals with an annual average of $14.5 million across the life of those contracts; the exception was Hiroki Kuroda, who re-signed for one year with the Yankees for $15 million.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.