Shin-Soo Choo was born on July 13, 1982 in Busan, South Korea.
He signed with the Seattle Mariners as an international free agent August 14, 2000, shortly after earning the MVP and Best Pitcher award for leading South Korea to the World Junior Baseball Championship.
He was a fairly well-regarded prospect, ranking #61 on BA's prospect list in 2003 and #51 in 2005.
He debuted with the Mariners in 2005 and played only a handful of games with them before being traded to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline in 2006 for "Bucket o'" Ben Broussard.
He immediately crushed it for the Indians, posting a 119 OPS+ over the remainder of the season.
He spent most of the 2007 season on the shelf and eventually had Tommy John surgery that September.
He had the best season of his career (so far) in 2010, posting a 145 wRC+ and over 6 fWAR. He was 14th in MVP voting.
Dec. 11, 2012 was the date Choo came to the Reds in a deal that saw a number of pieces moving in a three-team swap. andromache had kittens.
August 14, 2000 - Signed by the Mariners as an international free agent
July 26, 2006 - Traded by the Mariners with Shawn Nottingham to the Indians for Ben Broussard.
Dec 11, 2012 - Traded by the Indians with Jason Donald to the Reds for Didi Gregorius and Drew Stubbs. Gregorius was then flipped to the Diamondbacks for something I don't know whatever.
One year, $7.38 million. Choo will be a free agent after the 2013 season.
Choo is the most-complete hitter the Reds have seen in a long time, outside of Joey Votto. He steals bases, he hits home runs, he's a doubles machine, he walks and hits for average...he's the real-deal. I have a feeling we'll all be cranky to see him walk after this season.
via FanGraphs. Depending on who you ask, he projects as either a solid regular or a legit All-Star.
Fan Scouting Report ratings via FanGraphs (2012 rating/career rating)
First step: (48/54)
Arm strength: (87/88)
Arm accuracy: (75/77)
Choo's defense is one of the most interesting topics of debate this season. The Reds are planning on moving him to center field. He has played a total of 10 games in CF in the big leagues (he was the regular RF in Cleveland). The big question, of course, is just how well can he handle it.
The jury is still out on this one. Advanced fielding stats are ambivalent on him, especially in recent seasons. The FSRs seem to like him well enough. He is fast and he has a very strong arm, so the potential is certainly there for him to be a passable CF. Hopefully that all makes up for his less-than-noteworthy instincts.