The Pittsburgh Pirates have done something that many have hoped for a long time. The team was able to capitalize on a seller's market in finding a deal with the San Diego Padres. The Bucs traded Ji-Man Choi after he would only play in 23 games with the Bucs. The first baseman, who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2022, was traded away at Tuesday's deadline, but the Pirates' front office managed to turn Choi into a deal that brought significant returns, marking a considerable win for the team compared to what they gave up to acquire him.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Ji-Man Choi from the Rays, it was seen as a low-risk move. Choi had shown flashes of potential during his time in Tampa Bay, but he hadn't been given consistent playing time to truly shine. He was also a roster casualty as he entered his final year of team control and the Rays were ready to move on.
The Bucs who spent the bulk of 2022 with Michael Chavis at first base, made a move for veteran Choi. The Pittsburgh Pirates gave up right-handed pitching prospect Jack Hartman in the deal. Hartman was a fourth-round selection out of Appalachian State in 2020. He underwent Tommy John Surgery later that year. Overall he is 25 years of age pitching in High-A. His career ERA is 4.95 in 54 total relief appearances since 2022.
Despite only spending a short period in Pittsburgh, Choi's presence didn't go unnoticed. He brought a veteran presence to the clubhouse. He also showed easy power, swatting 6 home runs and 4 doubles in just 23 games. However, with the Pittsburgh Pirates currently in the midst of another losing season, the opportunity to turn Choi into a valuable asset presented itself at the trade deadline. So how did Choi lead to the Pittsburgh Pirates Front Office clearly winning a rental deal?