The Pittsburgh Pirates came to salary agreements with four of their five arbitration-eligible players before yesterday’s deadline to exchange figures. The one remaining player is first baseman Ji-Man Choi, who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays during this current off-season.
The Pirates are one of many “file and trial” teams, so it’s highly unlikely that the two sides reach an agreement before their arbitration hearing, which will be scheduled for the somewhat near future. According to Mark Feinsand, the Pirates filed at $4.65 M, while Choi is asking for $5.4 M.
Arbitration exchange update: Ji-Man Choi filed at $5.4 million; the Pirates filed at $4.65 million.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 14, 2023
Choi is in his last season before free agency. He made $3.2M last year in his second season of arbitration. He batted .233/.341/.388 in 113 games, with 22 doubles, 11 homers, 58 walks and an overall 1.2 WAR.
MLB Trade Rumors usually comes fairly close in their projections of arbitration figures, so Choi is a very interesting one. Whether he wins or loses his case, it appears that he wins. They had him at $4.5M as his projected number, $150,000 less than what the Pirates filed.
The biggest difference in yesterday’s projected/actual numbers was $275,000 for JT Brubaker, much lower than the $900,000 difference Choi is asking. That’s while also noting that players can fall under the projection as well. Robert Stephenson’s salary is $150,000 under the projected number. So it seems like the Pirates made a very good offer and should win the case, but that’s not how it always works out.
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.