As the deadline approached, the Pittsburgh Pirates were on the lookout for opportunities to bolster their roster with prospects and young talent. Teams were interested in acquiring bats in a market void of many impact ones. Simply put, the market was much more robust for a player like Choi than it was this past offseason.
The Pittsburgh Pirates capitalized on the market and were able to trade Ji-Man Choi for a significant return.
By acquiring Choi from the Rays and then flipping him for multiple pieces, the Pirates effectively utilized their assets to enhance the team's future prospects. Now yes, Rich Hill was also a part of this deal but Hill did not cost anything this offseason. Even if Hill makes up for Alfredo Rivas and Jackson Wolf, Choi bringing back Estaur Suero is a significant get. Both Suero and Wolf are far superior prospects to Hartman, either way you look at the deal.
Some have questioned the Pittsburgh Pirates' front office's ability to win trades, and rightfully so. It has been rare to have an instant feeling of optimism following their deals. Yes, there have been good deals and bad deals, but this one seemed different. They managed to extract value from a player who had hardly seen much playing time during his time in Pittsburgh. This was one of the rare times that Cherington brought back a strong package on paper for rentals.
As Ji-Man Choi starts a new chapter with his new team, the Pittsburgh Pirates will undoubtedly keep a close eye on the players they received in return. The success of this trade will ultimately be judged by the performance of those prospects and how they contribute to the Pirates' future. Meanwhile, the Bucs will likely be looking for a first baseman and/or a designated hitter again this off-season. Ben Cherington could cap off the winning of the Choi deals by resigning Choi this offseason.