Pittsburgh traded with Tampa Bay in November last year and recruited Choi Ji-man (32). He gave up right-handed prospect Jack Hartman and recruited an immediate sense of power that could play an active role at first base.
Choi Ji-man said during spring training last February that he felt that he would be traded. Choi Ji-man will become a free agent (FA) after the 2023 season ends. Tampa Bay, a typical small market team, couldn’t afford to catch Choi Ji-man until he offered a multi-year contract. Even Choi Ji-man was well aware of this as he watched his former teammates leave the team. But he candidly admits that he didn’t anticipate Pittsburgh as the destination.
However, there was a reason why Pittsburgh chose Choi Ji-man. Pittsburgh, a 100-loss team for the second year in a row, was now slowly finishing its rebuilding process and needed a better performance than last year to accelerate its graduation. Pittsburgh’s concern was that the weight of first base, the offensive position, was greatly reduced, and Choi Ji-man, who showed solid performance, was an appropriate alternative.안전놀이터
But Pittsburgh’s plans are being shattered by injuries. Choi Ji-man, who had a late start to the season after undergoing surgery to remove bone fragments in his elbow after last year’s season, was placed on the injured list after playing in nine games this season due to an Achilles tendon injury. He was originally on the 10-day disabled list, but Pittsburgh, seeing his condition as serious, moved him to the 60-day disabled list. In other words, he saw that he wouldn’t be back in two months.
Choi Ji-man is recovering with a batting average of 0.125 and two home runs in nine games this year. As his sense of hitting increased with the home run, he inevitably injured his Achilles tendon. And the prospect that only Choi could be traded again without showing the contribution that Pittsburgh wanted is drawing attention.
Jason Maki, a reporter in charge of Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a leading local media, covered the movement of the Pittsburgh trade market this season in a question and answer section with readers on the 3rd (Korean time). The deadline for non-waiver trades is the end of July. There is still time left, so the trade is not at a stage where the trade will be active, but it is time for Pittsburgh to slowly think about that time.
Normally, in July, depending on the team’s performance, ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’ are divided. If the team’s performance drops, it is a situation where they promise next year and sell it, and teams with good team performance or who need to bet on a game usually give up promising players and buy a sense of power immediately. Markey pointed out that Pittsburgh is still in an ambiguous situation. In fact, as of the 3rd, Pittsburgh is 29-27 (.518), running second in the Central Division of the National League. This is an achievement that exceeds expectations. However, after May, the results are not very good. It remains to be seen if it can continue running.
Maki said that if Pittsburgh maintains its current downtrend and eventually becomes a “seller,” Choi Ji-man is the one that can be put up for sale without regret. Maki emphasized, “If you find a team that will take Choi Ji-man, of course you have to do it (trade).” Anyway, Choi Ji-man still has half a season left until FA qualification. He’s not a player Pittsburgh is counting on for the long term. Maki thinks that if there is a team that needs only Choi even in a slump this year, he should actively trade him.
On the contrary, he predicted that “it depends on the cost” of switch hitter Carlos Santana and right-handed hitter Corner Joe, who share first base while Choi Ji-man is not there. He said there was no reason to sell at a loss. Regarding Andrew McCutchen, who returned to Pittsburgh this year, he said, “It’s better not to trade,” and Rich Hill, who signed a one-year contract, insisted, “We should keep Hill for young prospects who are at high risk of injury and not sacrifice depth.” did.
Along with Choi Ji-man, the players selected as the most likely traders are catcher Austin Hedges and right-handed sub resource Vince Velasquez. However, Maki put a question mark, saying, “I doubt that he can make a lot of net profit with Hedges. Velázquez is not healthy.”