According to reports out of Korea and confirmed by Marc Tompkins who covers the Tampa Bay Rays, the Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired veteran first baseman Ji-Man Choi.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) November 10, 2022
The Pirates have confirmed the deal and announced that they have sent minor league pitcher Jack Hartman to Tampa in the deal. The 31-year-old Choi has one year left before free agency. He batted .233/.341/.388 in 113 games in 2022, collecting 22 doubles and 11 homers. In seven seasons, he has a career .239/.345/.429 slash line. Baseball-Reference has him as a below average defender every season during his career, but the offense has carried him to 5.2 WAR in that time. His 1.2 WAR in 2022 is the second best mark of his career, only topped by the 2.1 he put up in 2019. Those are the only two seasons that he has played at least 100 games.
Hartman was a 2020 fourth round draft pick, who needed Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2021. At 24 years old, he made 22 appearances this season for Low-A Bradenton, where he had a 6.27 ERA in 18.2 innings, with 16 walks, 19 strikeouts and a 2.04 WHIP. He showed excellent velocity, so there is some potential.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.