Kia Tigers Re-Sign KBO RBI Leader Choi Hyoung-woo for Two Years

SEOUL -- The Kia Tigers announced on Friday that they have signed a new two-year deal with veteran designated hitter Choi Hyoung-woo, making him the oldest non-free agent player in Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) history to sign a multiyear contract.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Choi's contract includes a guaranteed first year with a vesting option for the second season. The option will become guaranteed if Choi meets specific performance incentives. In total, the deal could earn Choi up to 2.2 billion won (approximately US$1.7 million).

In June last year, Choi cemented his place in KBO history by becoming the career RBI leader. He hit a milestone with his 1,499th and 1,500th RBI in a game against the Hanwha Eagles, surpassing retired slugger Lee Seung-yuop. Choi ended the 2023 season with 81 RBIs, the second-highest on the Tigers team, bringing his career total to 1,542 RBIs.

Choi Jeong of the SSG Landers, with 1,454 RBIs, is the closest active player trailing Choi Hyoung-woo on the all-time list.

Choi began his KBO career with the Samsung Lions in 2002, but it wasn't until 2008 that he became a regular player, earning the Rookie of the Year award. He joined the Tigers as a free agent after the 2016 season and, following his initial four-year contract, re-signed with the team for the 2021-2023 seasons.

The latest contract with the Tigers implies that Choi Hyoung-woo will likely end his career with the team. Choi expressed his gratitude for the contract and his commitment to the team's success. "I will do the best I can with my teammates to take this team to the postseason," said Choi. He also expressed his desire to be remembered by the Tigers' fans as a consistent force until the end of his career.

The Tigers acknowledged Choi's significant contribution to the team, both on the field and through his leadership in the clubhouse, and viewed the contract as a reward for his outstanding performance.

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