Chapter 16 – Lonely Christmas 01
3 hours later.
Gun Choi received a phone call from David.
“Yes, any news?”
David was silent.
“The Cubs are considering our offer.”
“So? What do they think?”
David lightly sighed and replied.
“They accepted the offer. But are you sure about the contract?”
The guaranteed salary meant a chance on the mound in the Major Leagues. If the guaranteed salary
was big, players couldn’t be degraded to the Minor Leagues.
But players with a lower salary were frequently moved to the Minor Leagues.
“Can you tell me more?”
David started explaining as he saw a memo.
“Frankly, there’s no sign-up bonus. But you will get two hundred thousand once you enter
into the 25 rosters. Salary will be the lowest in the Major Leagues. But you will get options like fifty
thousand per save, thirty thousand per hold.”
Gun Choi was disappointed with the news that there’s no sign-up bonus.
‘No money to send home.’
He sighed and asked David.
“What about the option for winning a game? Don’t say that there’s none.”
“It’s the same - fifty thousand. And five hundred thousand for 50 games, five hundred
thousand for 70 innings. And one hundred fifty thousand for 20 saves or 70 games.’
Five of the players who played more than 50 games in the Cubs last year were from the bullpen.
And 4 of them had more than 50 innings. If he played in the bullpen regularly, he could get 1 to 2 million.
Gun Choi thought it wasn’t too bad.
The total amount he would get from playing in the bullpen in the Major Leagues would be equal to that of playing in the domestic leagues until he retired.
But David thought differently.
If things went well and stayed that way in the Major Leagues, the salary would be much higher than any new players. But if Gun Choi didn’t entered the 25 rosters, the salary would be extremely low.
“Gun Choi, this is the last time I’ll ask you. Are you okay with this contract?”
A smaller salary meant a smaller agent fee.
If the worst happened, the investment on the showcase would be a complete loss.
But Gun Choi replied without hesitation.
“I’ll sign on the contract. But I need an invitation to spring camp. I don’t want to start in the Minor
“Ok. I’ll try. I think it’ll be possible because you’re a backup for Samaza.”
David scratched his head as he hung up.
“He must get a good deal from Korea? Or he’s sure he’ll enter the Major Leagues?”
David wondered about Gun Choi’s burning his bridges.
Gordon, a manager of strategy analysis at the Chicago Cubs, made the contract in Arizona instead of bringing both David and Gun Choi to Chicago.
There was no reason to bring them to Chicago as there was no sign-up bonus and it was a low salary.
Gun Choi signed the paper and shook hands with Gordon.
“Welcome, Gun Choi.”
Gordon asked him with smile.
“Gun Choi, let us know if you need anything. Do you need an interpreter?”
Gun Choi shook his head.
“I was in the Minor Leagues for 5 years. I don’t need that now.”
He had taken an English class, so he didn’t need an interpreter.
“What about a hotel?”
“As you know, I’ll have spring camp in Arizona. If there’s an available dorm, I’ll use that.”
Gordon thought Gun Choi was very enthusiastic.
‘He preferred to insure substantiality. This had something to do with option bonus.’
He provided a dorm to Gun Choi and talked him to use a training field on his way.
“Only 40 rosters can stay at this dorm, but you are eligible to stay here.”
Gun Choi took a calm attitude on Gordon’s word.
As of this moment, there was no guarantee on his being on the 25 rosters, or even on the 40 rosters.
David didn’t say anything because he wasn’t happy with this contract.
He still thought it was a mistake to have a bonus option.
‘Collect the money when there’s a chance.’
That was the way that he always thought.
Gun Choi talked to Gordon.
“Can you do me a favor?”
Gordon asked him with smiled face.
“What is that?”
“I need an instructor for my training. Actually, this is my first time in the bullpen.”
Gun Choi acted as if he was a starting member.
Gordon agreed with Gun Choi because Gordon thought his suggestion was for improving skills as a player.
“Ok. I’ll find a good instructor. Anything else?”
“I might need a catcher, but it’s good for now.”
Gordon promised that he would, and headed back to Chicago.
David asked Gun Choi why he made those requests.
“It’s a good suggestion.”
“Why do you think so?”
“They need to pay at least fifty to a hundred thousand dollars for a good instructor. As the
investment on you get higher, the chance to enter the Major Leagues would get higher.”
But Gun Choi didn’t want to enter the Major Leagues just by money power.
“You don’t need to worry about the Major League call-up. I’m sure they’ll be impatient to
invite me to the Major Leagues after this spring.”
But David wasn’t sure he agreed with Gun Choi.
“Gun Choi, please keep in mind that spring camp is everything to you. “
“I know. Don’t worry.”
David ighe deeply seeing Gun Choi’s confident attitude.
“Gun Choi, it’s not that easy to survive in the Major Leagues. You’ve got something behind you, the knuckleball?
David asked him to do his best and got on a plane.
Gun Choi lay down on the chair at the airport after they left.
“I also know it won’t be easy. But if I don’t do it like this, I have no confidence to keep to my decision.”
Gun Choi burnt his boat to focus exclusively on practice in the winter and spring.
‘I must show something great. If not, it’ll be a big shame on me.’