NEW YORK (Reuters) - South Korean slugger Choo Shin-soo agreed to a one-year contract with Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians and avoided salary arbitration, the team said on Tuesday.
The team did not disclose financial terms of the deal but local media reported Choo, who batted .300 with 22 homers, 90 RBIs and 22 stolen bases last season, received a huge raise with his salary jumping to $3.97 million from $461,100.
The 28-year-old outfielder, who helped South Korea to a gold medal at the Asian Games in November, became the first Indians player since 1901 to have at least a .300 average, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in consecutive seasons.
The Indians said they hope to sign the big-hitting South Korean to long term deal.
"We're still in the midst of those discussions," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on the team's website (http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com). "I'm not going to go into specifics of where we are with that. I don't view the negotiations as being closed at this point."
Chris Perez took over as the Indians closer after Kerry Wood was traded to the New York Yankees at last year's trade deadline and became the youngest Cleveland reliever to record at least 20 saves in a single season.
Chris Perez, who ended last year with a 2-2 record, 1.71 ERA and 23 saves, will get $2.25 million next season while Rafael Perez (6-1) inked a $1.33 million deal.
(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)