Pirates Acquire Ji-Man Choi From Rays

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4:18pm: The teams have announced the deal. minor league pitcher Jack Hartman goes to Tampa Bay in return.

4:09pm: The Pirates are acquiring first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the Rays, according to reports out of South Korea (h/t to Homin Lee). Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times confirms the news on Twitter.

The move brings to an end Choi’s four-plus year tenure in Tampa Bay. The Rays first acquired the lefty-hitting first baseman from the Brewers in June 2018, sending utilityman Brad Miller to Milwaukee in a swap of big leaguers. Choi hit the ground running, putting up a .269/.370/.506 line in 49 games down the stretch. He staked a claim to a regular job in the Rays first base/designated hitter rotation, one he’s held the past few years.

Choi has been an above-average overall hitter in each of the past three seasons. He strikes out a fair amount and has hit between .229 and .233 in all three years, but he compensates for the mediocre batting averages by drawing plenty of free passes. Choi has walked in around 14% of his plate appearances in each of the last three years, pushing his on-base percentage into the .330 to .350 range. He typically gets into the double-digits in home runs and approaches 20 doubles annually.

Going back to the start of 2020, Choi owns a .231/.342/.399 line in 869 cumulative plate appearances. That offensive production checks in 14 points better than league average, by measure of wRC+.

More to come.

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