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Choo drops Nero, picks up Boras

Choo drops Nero, picks up Boras

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Ordinarily, a ballplayer's decision to switch agents doesn't attract much attention.

But when it's an up-and-coming star like outfielder Shin-Soo Choo siding with agent Scott Boras, the stakes are raised. The question is whether those stakes might eventually be raised out of the reach of the small-market Indians.

Choo said he agonized over the decision on whether or not he should switch representatives. He said he was happy with his former agent, Alan Nero of Octagon Worldwide. But after consulting with his family and some friends, including fellow players, he decided the opportunity with Boras was too good to pass up.

He officially made the move earlier this week.

"I thought about it for 10 days," Choo said. "I had to make the decision that was best for my future."

What does the future hold for Choo and the Tribe? The Indians don't comment publicly on their intentions, when it comes to potential long-term commitments with core players. But if history is any guide, then both Choo and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera would figure to be targets of a club that likes to lock such players up before they break the bank in arbitration. And Spring Training, historically, has been the time the Indians pursue such deals.

Choo and Cabrera both are arbitration-eligible at season's end.

Cleveland acquired Choo in the 2006 trade that sent Ben Broussard to Seattle. In 301 games with the Tribe over the past four seasons, Choo has hit .302 with 37 homers, 179 RBIs and an .893 OPS. Last season, he hit .300 with a club-high 20 homers and 86 RBIs, to go with 21 steals. The South Korean native became the first Asian-born player to notch 20 homers and 20 steals in a single-season.

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When the subject of Boras came up Saturday, Choo's eyes opened wide.

"Hot issue," he said.

Choo said the Indians have yet to approach him about a long-term deal, but he planned to speak with Boras about that possibility. The prospect of signing such a deal with the Indians seems to appeal to Choo, who pointed out that, no matter who is representing him in negotiations, he will have the final say.

"I really want to stay long term," Choo said. "I have good teammates here. A good team. Everything I like. I feel at home here. I like the Indians."

Choo, of course, won't be eligible to explore outside options until after the 2013 season. But if the Indians intend to lock him up through his arbitration years and perhaps into his free-agent eligibility, the Boras affiliation could make matters more interesting.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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