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Choi Ji-Man ‘8th team’ is SD, Kim Ha-Sung… ‘Carpenter role expectations’ Rich Hill and trade with ‘fall baseball lead’

Choi Ji-Man (32) has found a new team for the eighth time in his career. Less than a season after joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played with Bae Ji-hwan (24), he’s back with a new team. Another Korean leaguer, Kim Ha-seong (28), is with the San Diego Padres.

“On the final day of the deadline, San Diego agreed to acquire left-hander Rich Hill, 43, and first baseman Choi Ji-Man in a trade with Pittsburgh,”, the official website of Major League Baseball (MLB), announced on Feb. 2.

Three prospects, including left-hander Jackson Wolf, will be sent to Pittsburgh.

In the wake of the trade deadline, San Diego’s ‘Winnow’ kicks into high gear
“The Padres were still looking for a pitcher out of the bullpen on the afternoon of the trade deadline,” reported, “desperately needing to add depth to their left-handed rotation.”

San Diego is 52-55 with a .486 winning percentage, good for fourth place in the National League West. They are 8.5 games out of first place, but still have hopes of making it to fall ball via the wild card.

There was some speculation that Kim could be traded, but now that he’s become an “unsellable player” and an integral part of the team, San Diego has opted for a “win now” approach to strengthen its roster.

“Choi will basically fill the role the Padres were hoping Matt Carpenter would fill this season,” wrote. Carpenter is struggling with a .166 batting average and a .598 OPS.

Joining Choi in a San Diego uniform is Rich Hill, a veteran pitcher with a career record of 89-69 with a 3.93 ERA. This season, he’s 7-10 with a 4.76 ERA in 22 games. Despite the disappointing results, there are high hopes that his wealth of experience will help lead San Diego into fall ball. also noted San Diego’s “win-now” strategy. “Hill and Choi are both eligible for free agency at the end of the season,” the outlet noted, suggesting that there was no reason to bring them back unless they were looking to make a run at fall ball. They can afford the losses.

With a .929 OPS in July, will Choi finally break through the ‘Platoon Wall’ with his eighth team?
Choi began his minor league career with the Seattle Mariners in 2010, then moved on to the Baltimore Orioles and finally the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. The New York Yankees followed the next year and the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018 before joining the Tampa Bay Rays for the season.

After getting more opportunities in Tampa Bay, Choi joined Bae in Pittsburgh this season. However, their time together was limited. Choi was injured early in the season. Last month, Choi returned, but this time, Bae went down with an injury.

Now, he’ll be playing with Kim Ha-seong. Kim has been one of San Diego’s hottest commodities this season. He plays impeccable defense at both second base and shortstop, and has recently been batting leadoff. He has a solid position on the team, which should be enough to help him adjust.

The key will be how he is utilized. According to, “Choi is the left-handed bat San Diego has been looking for. He’ll probably start as a designated hitter against right-handed pitching and come off the bench against lefties, with the team’s catchers, Gary Sanchez and Luis Camposano, starting.”

This season, he’s batting .205 (15-for-73) with six home runs and 11 RBIs for a .731 OPS in 23 games. In 14 games since returning from injury, he’s batting .268 (11-for-41) with a .929 OPS. Seven of those 11 hits have gone for extra bases, including four home runs. Still, he’s only been a “halved” player in Pittsburgh. He’s been benched when a left-handed pitcher starts, splitting time in the designated hitter spot with Andrew McCutchen, and sometimes starting off the bench when a right-handed pitcher starts.온라인바카 also saw this as a variable. “Choi is a bit of an enigma in that he hasn’t played much this season,” they wrote, noting his stellar performance since returning from injury in July, “but in his eight years in the big leagues, Choi has an OPS of .772 and an OPS of .810 against right-handed pitching. In 2020, he became the first Korean hitter to play in the World Series, where his new teammate Kim Ha-seong wants to go.”

Breaking through Platoon’s wall doesn’t look easy right now. But what’s encouraging is that San Diego clearly saw the utility in Choi and brought him in with a sense of immediate power. The designated hitter spot seems to be more of a sure thing. Now he needs to prove it by playing consistently and erasing his weakness against lefties.

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