Texas Rangers veteran Shin-Soo Choo bounced around from Grand Chute, Wisconsin, to Tacoma to Buffalo in his first three seasons in baseball, so he knows firsthand how tough life is for minor leaguers.
So Choo is opening his pockets to minor leaguers in the Rangers organization who are struggling because of the coronavirus shutdown. The 37-year-old designated hitter is giving $1,000 each to about 190 players in the team’s farm system.
“I came here with nothing, but baseball has given me a lot since,” Choo told Naver Sports of South Korea. “Minor league players are the future of our organization. I just hope that they can fight through and overcome this difficult time.”
Choo, who was a teenager out of South Korea when he signed a futures contract with the Seattle Mariners in 2000, shared a text exchange he had with outfielder Eli White, who played with Triple-A Nashville last season.
“Hey, Choo, this is Eli,” White texted. “Thanks for helping me out with the per diem checks. It is going to help my wife and I out a lot.”
Choo’s response: “Eli don’t worry about money. Just keep playing baseball. Let me know if you need something more.”
Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that it would pay all minor leaguers a minimum of $400 per week plus medical benefits through the end of May.
Choo, an All-Star in 2018, was slated to earn $21 million this season, the final year of a seven-year, $130 million deal with the Rangers.