Why the Pittsburgh Pirates are cautious about bringing back Choi, 32.
Pittsburgh news outlet Pittsburgh Baseball Now updated the status of Choi, who is making a rehab assignment, on Wednesday (Aug. 3), citing an interview with Pittsburgh general manager Ben Cherington.
Choi was traded to Pittsburgh from the Tampa Bay Rays after last season. He is in his final season before free agency, signing for $4.65 million ($6 billion) in the final year of his salary adjustment.
Pittsburgh can’t guarantee they will retain Choi when he becomes a free agent. It wouldn’t be surprising if he leaves the team after this season. They need to play all the cards they can to improve the team.
Choi is on the verge of a comeback after being placed on the 60-day disabled list (IL) with an ankle injury in April. In six rehab games at Double-A and Triple-A, he’s batting .316 (6-for-19) with two home runs, seven RBIs, and a 1.229 OPS. His batting average appears to be back as well.
However, Pittsburgh is in no hurry to move on. Cherington said, “We’re still working on his defensive skills in Triple-A to make sure he’s ready to go.”
Pittsburgh has the cards to alternate between veteran Andrew McCutchen (37) and first baseman Carlos Santana (37). Santana and Choi, in particular, overlap at first base. If you add Choi to the mix, you’ll have to decide which player to utilize for the one designated hitter spot.
This is where Choi’s defense comes into play. If Choi can play first base instead of designated hitter, Pittsburgh will be able to utilize a variety of players in the lineup.바카라
Cherington said, “I think we can utilize him at first base. It doesn’t mean we’re taking Santana out of the equation, but we’re giving him options. We want to make sure he’s perfect (on defense and at the plate).”
Pittsburgh currently ranks 14th out of 15 National League teams in team batting average (.241). That’s dead last. They need Choi as soon as possible to bolster their offense, but they’re carefully timing his return to reduce injury risk and increase his utility.