Pirates Win Arbitration Case Against Ji-Man Choi

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Pittsburgh Pirates won their only arbitration case against first baseman Ji-Man Choi. Jason Mackey was the first to report the news. All of the other arbitration-eligible players in the system agreed to deals before the deadline. The Pirates are one of many “file and trial” teams in baseball, so once they exchanged figures with Choi, they were going to an arbitration meeting.

Choi asked for a $5.4 M salary, while the Pirates countered with $4.65 M. The interesting thing here is that even though he lost the case, he actually did better than projected. MLB Trade Rumors has been posting projected arbitration numbers for years with a very high success rate of coming close to how the numbers play out. They projected Choi for $4.5 M, so win or lose in this meeting, he was still making more than his projected salary.

It’s not 100% accurate, but he likely had very little chance of winning regardless of his asking price, since the arbitrators pick the closest number.

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.

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Wilbur Miller

Mackey had an ominous comment today about Choi struggling with defensive drills. Somehow the narrative took hold that he’s a great first baseman. By OAA, for his career he’s below avg. His only above avg. season was 2022. (There’s been an astounding amount of Statcast cherry-picking with the Pirates’ FAs this off-season.)

Scam likely

I think if the team wins in arbitration the salary is locked in, if the player wins arbitration they may be still able to waive him with a 45 day pay. But I don’t know for sure.

b mcferren

Haven’t yinz once mentioned that there is some loophole that allows a team to tender a player, go to arbitration with him and then release him before the end of march and still not be on the hook for his salary?


Ji Man does not seem overChoi’d, does he? Trade him for a set of Jung Ho Kang baseball cards.


yer killin’ me


It seems that more players lost than in previous season.


Came in to make this exact comment.



The Vulcan Mind Meld??


~same price difference between Choi and the Bucs as was with Burnes and the Brewers. Both clubs won. I don’t expect Choi to pout and let it affect his play. He can’t afford to let his play drop as this is his last season before FA. Burnes has been salty even though he said that he had no issues in what the Brewers said during the hearing. He still was publicly bitter over losing and he has 3:seasons before FA but his next 2 cracks at FA depend on performance. Both will be interesting to,watch.


Choi seems to have gotten off to a rough start with the Pirates and I look forward to hearing from him via Mackey or other beat writer. Hopefully any frustration with the arb process or being blocked from playing in the WBC won’t negatively affect performance. From what’s been written about his character, I don’t expect it to. And anyway, he needs to play well this year for next year’s contract.


Unless arbiters have publically stated they use MLBtraderumors, I think you are really underestimating the independence of arbiters to do their own research in doing this important job. You are elevating MLBtraderumors as the authority, judge and jury, and I really doubt that is the case.

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