Cleveland Indians' outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will not participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, leaving the South Korean team without its only current Major League player. South Korea was the runner-up in the 2009 WBC, losing to Japan in extra innings. Pool play for South Korea begins March 2 in Taiwan.
Choo, 30, will be a free agent after the 2013 season. He hit .283/.373/.441 in 686 plate appearances in 2012, with 16 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He has posted a .853 OPS in seven seasons for the Indians. Though insurance is provided to players by the WBC, maximizing Choo's first free-agent contract before the 2014 season appears to be the focus for Choo and agent Scott Boras.
Choo was the only South Korean to play in Major League baseball for the past two seasons. Choo's countryman Ryu Hyun-Jin, whose negotiating rights were recently bought by the Los Angeles Dodgers, is another Boras client, and will also forego participating in the 2013 WBC.