Above: The Pirates are making an offseason splash, acquiring first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays. Choi will shore up the first base position in Pittsburgh and bring a decent bat to the Pirates’ lineup. First base has been a question mark since the departure of Josh Bell in Pittsburgh. But Choi hopes he can turn that around for the Buccos. Photo Credit – Frank Franklin II, AP Sports.
We have our first notable move of the 2022 free-agency period, and it’s the Pirates making an offseason splash.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are acquiring first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays. To complete the deal, the Pirates are sending minor league pitcher Jack Hartman.
And, according to Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Choi is a fan-favorite for basically any franchise. The veteran, however, has bounced around in recent memory. After beginning his career with the LA Angels, he’s also spent time with the Yankees and Brewers before playing 4 1/2 seasons in Tampa.
So, yes, Choi is an important veteran to have on a young roster like they do in Pittsburgh. And, as Maxwell Runde discusses here in a piece from last year, the value of the first baseman position is going up.
And Pittsburgh’s first position is in a state of limbo until now. Why is first base an issue? Well, since Josh Bell left, there’s a lot of names who took the reins. Most recently, Yankee defect Michael Chavis and former Met Daniel Vogelbach have filled in.
So, overall, the Pirates won this trade. They addressed a key position that is in a state of limbo when looking for success.
And Choi does provide some decent pop in his bat, averaging at least 20 doubles and 15 home runs a season. He doesn’t wow people with his stats, but he can be a real solid team player.