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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Pirates pick up first baseman Ji-Man Choi in trade with Rays

The Pittsburgh Pirates addressed one of their glaring weaknesses Thursday, acquiring first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays for a minor league pitcher.

Choi, 31, slashed .233/.341/.388 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in 113 games with the Rays last season and ranked seventh among first baseman with plus-2 Outs Above Average.

The 6-foot-1, 260-pound native of South Korea has a career .239 batting average with 61 home runs and 225 RBIs in six major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels (2016), New York Yankees (2017), Milwaukee Brewers (2018) and the Rays (2019-22).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 10, 2022 at 09:20 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ji-man choi, pirates, rays

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   1. Russ Posted: November 11, 2022 at 07:42 AM (#6105104)
I similarly addressed the pile of dishes in my sink by washing a tea cup.
   2. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 11, 2022 at 10:30 AM (#6105112)
Choi has been a decent bench player. A 32-year old Choi is not anyone's answer at 1B.

And he is entering arbitration, meaning he will no longer be cheap.

Oh, the Pirates.

   3. Russ Posted: November 11, 2022 at 10:42 AM (#6105114)
A 32-year old Choi is not anyone's answer at 1B.

If Choi is the answer, then I have questions about the question... and at this point I am too afraid to ask.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: November 11, 2022 at 10:44 AM (#6105115)
And he is entering arbitration, meaning he will no longer be cheap.
$4m or $5m or whatever is still cheap.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2022 at 11:45 AM (#6105118)
Choi was 19th out of 36 first baseman with at least 400 PA in wRC+ at 115, and Steamer projects him at 111 next year. Pirates first basemen had a 59 wRC+, by far the worst in baseball. Choi is perfectly fine, I don't get the criticism.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: November 11, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6105121)

"Last season, Pittsburgh rolled out 10 first basemen: Michael Chavis, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Daniel Vogelbach, Josh VanMeter, Zack Collins, Ben Gamel, Bligh Madris, Kevin Padlo, Diego Castillo and Yu Chang. That group combined to hit .206/.264/.337 with 17 home runs and a .601 OPS in games that they started at first base. By the end of the season, the Pirates did not have a primary first baseman on their active roster.

Choi, Castillo and Miguel Andújar are the only position players on the 40-man roster who have spent time at first base in the Majors, though Castillo and Andújar have only spent a combined 49 1/3 innings at the position."


so yes, the Pirates overall are deserving of our disdain.

but for once, they made a move that figures to make them a little better.

plus they have a good 1B prospect who is only about a year away.

baby steps.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: November 11, 2022 at 12:34 PM (#6105127)
Is the pitcher any good? Anyway, a standard platoon 1B and a standard move by a team like the Pirates. I assume the Rays wanted some room on the 40-man otherwise they might wait to see whether any of the contenders ended up with a hole at 1B entering spring.

He's only got 278 career PA vs LHP -- nobody in MLB ever thought he was more than a platoon player. This being the Pirates, he might be forced into a full-time role which will probably lead to a "bad" year even if he performs at his usual average level vs RHP. So the Pirates' job at this point is to find him an average platoon partner (maybe Andujar).
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2022 at 01:41 PM (#6105147)
Is the pitcher any good?


The Pirates sent right-hander Jack Hartman, a 2020 fourth-round pick who spent last season at Low-A Bradenton, to the Rays in exchange for Choi. Hartman went 0-1 with a 6.27 ERA and 2.04 WHIP in 22 relief appearances. He stuck out 19 in 18.2 innings.

So, he's not good. But he'll be in the All-Star Game next year for the Rays.
   9. John Reynard Posted: November 12, 2022 at 01:22 AM (#6105208)
Maybe Choi will finally get to try out switch-hitting for real if the Pirates play him everyday. He's 2-7 with a HR career batting RH vs LHP. We won't talk about the fact that he has RH PA against RHP too, thats just weird Choiness (0-3 with a walk).

Pittsburgh is marginally better with Choi and gave up little. I mean, TB might make something of Hartman. But, he's not a guy you'd expect to blossom with PIT anyhow, right?
   10. sanny manguillen Posted: November 12, 2022 at 07:59 AM (#6105211)
$4m or $5m or whatever is still cheap.

It's basically what they paid Yoshi Tsutsugo to be terrible last year.

Hartman was drafted as a 4th year senior in 2020, throws hard. Had Tommy John surgery before throwing a professional pitch. Came back in May, threw 18 innings all season. I think the best bet is that he was on the Rays draft list in 2020, and they figure he hasn't pitched enough to be a failed prospect yet.

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