In any case, Choi’s three-year, 3.4 billion won free agent contract is over. The ball is now in KIA’s court. Will they sign Choi to a multi-year contract?
Choi Hyung-woo appeared as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning against KT in 메이저사이트Gwangju on the 24th, trailing 0-1. After hitting a liner to second base from KT’s Ko Young-pyo, he sprinted to first base and was slightly caught by Park Byung-ho’s foot, crushing his left collarbone into the ground. Medical examination revealed a left comminuted fracture and scapular joint damage. He will need to rehabilitate for four months. Out for the season.
The three-year, 3.4 billion won free agent contract that Kia and Choi signed in the 2020-2021 free agent market has expired. Choi will have to wait another year until the 2024-2025 market to become a free agent again. However, he may not necessarily sign a one-year deal next year. Non-FA multi-year contracts have been activated.
It’s unclear if Kia will pursue a non-free agent multi-year deal with Choi. The industry says it’s possible, but there are many variables in a contract. There are many options. A one-year deal and then become a free agent, a multi-year deal of two or more years, a one-year deal with various options, etc.
Looking back over the past three years, the contract hasn’t been a 100% success. Choi struggled in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In 2021, he hit .233 with 12 home runs, 55 RBIs, 52 runs scored, and a .729 OPS in 104 games, and in 2022, he hit .264 with 14 home runs, 71 RBIs, 55 runs scored, and a .787 OPS in 132 games.
But he bounced back perfectly this season. In 121 games, he hit .431 with 130 doubles, 17 home runs, 81 RBIs, 64 runs scored, a .400 slugging percentage, a .487 OPS, and a .887 on-base percentage. He ranked fourth in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS, fifth in RBIs, ninth in home runs, 13th in on-base percentage, and 16th in runs scored.
Most notably, he is tied with Austin Dean (LG) for the team lead with 14 extra-base hits. This year wasn’t the only time Choi’s fixer-upper instincts shined through. He was seventh with 11 in 2021 and six in 2022. In the last three years, he has 31. Not many batters have hit more clutch hits than Choi in that span. Only Kim Hyun-soo (LG) with 46 and Choi Jeong (SSG) and Yang Yang-ji (Doosan) with 34 are ahead of Choi. Park Byung-ho (KT) has 31, the same as Choi. Choi’s teammate Na Sung-bum has 24.
Choi’s resurgence is also evident in secondary stats. He ranks 14th in WAR at 3.64, fifth in adjusted run production at 153.3, fifth in weighted on-base percentage at 0.409, and third in wRC+ at 4.06, according to baseball stats site Statiz. Simply put, it’s going to be very difficult to find another hitter like him.
KIA signed Na to a six-year, 15 billion won contract for two years. He will continue to be the centerpiece of the KIA lineup for the next four years. After his arrival, the batting order naturally shifted from Choi Hyung-woo to Na Sung-bum. However, Nasung-bum’s long absence this season and the resurgence of Choi Hyung-woo made it clear that Choi’s presence was still needed.
Choi will turn 41 next year. With four months of rehabilitation, he should be ready for the start of spring training next February. This injury aside, it’s hard to see him signing a multi-year contract for more than three years. Even if he signs a multi-year contract, it is expected to be around two years. However, KIA is currently negotiating with catcher Kim Tae-gun for a non-free agent multi-year contract. Another signature star, Kim Sun-bin, is also eligible for free agency after this season. Choi Hyung-woo is not the only one who can go all-in.