Anthony Castrovince of mlb.com reports that while Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is interested in signing a long-term deal with the Indians, he will not negotiate once the season starts.
This sounds like a classic Scott Boras tactic to me. Like I've mentioned a few times before, he's famous for going year-to-year during the arbitration process because he knows that will net his clients the most money both in the short term and long term. Typically, he only allows his clients to sign long-term deals buying out arbitration and parts of free agency if the signing team is willing to cede a significant portion of their leverage. By setting an Opening Day deadline, he hopes to force the Indians into making a decision: sign him now and overpay or take the risk of Choo's price skyrocketing before the beginning of the next negotiating window. It's very simple. If Choo puts up another 5-6 win season in 2011, the Indians may no longer be able to afford him.
What would an extension for Choo look like? Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors makes a convincing case that Nick Markakis's six year $66M extension with the Orioles could be used as a model for the Choo extension.
"Nick Markakis, who signed a long-term extension with the Orioles after the 2008 season, then had remarkably similar numbers to the ones Choo has now. Markakis, who also has a strong throwing arm and plays right field, edges Choo in average, runs and homers, but Choo has more RBI and steals and better on base and slugging averages. Markakis' extension could be a model for Cleveland and he will earn $20MM for his three arbitration seasons.Choo, 28, recently signed a one year deal for $3.975M that allowed him to avoided arbitration in his first season of eligibility. Choo finished the 2010 season with a .388 wOBA and a 5.6 WAR.