Choi Ji-man (32, Pittsburgh), who was sidelined for nearly two months due to an injury. Already in the US, there is a cold prospect that the possibility of reuniting with the team next season is very low.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, an American media outlet, argued on the 20th (Korean time), “It is unlikely that only Choi, who will qualify as a free agent (FA) after the end of the season, will return to the team.”
On this day, Pittsburgh said, “Choi Ji-man is expected to be out for the next eight weeks due to left Achilles tendinitis.” Choi Ji-man was removed from the lineup due to Achilles tendon pain ahead of the St. Louis game on the 15th, and was immediately placed on the injured list (IL).
Regarding Choi Ji-man’s injury, “It was the most embarrassing news of the team’s recent injuries,” the media said, “for the next few weeks, only light baseball-related activities or minimal movements are allowed.” Initially, Choi Ji-man said that it was “the pain that appears and does not appear”, but the condition was not normal as he said.안전놀이터
Choi Ji-man, who was traded from Tampa Bay ahead of this season, was tasked with securing the team’s first baseman and designated hitter position along with veteran Carlos Santana (37). He, who had been silent with a batting average of only 0.053 (1 hit in 19 at-bats) in his first 6 games, reported his first home run in the last 11 days against Houston. The next day, he hit multiple hits, including home runs, and was in the process of recovering his sense of hitting.
Referring to this, the media said, “In the next two months, Pittsburgh needs to think about resources to replace the vacancy of Choi Ji-man and the composition of the lineup.” Pittsburgh replaced right-handed hitter Conor Joe (31) as a substitute for Choi Ji-man. The media insisted, “This should be a short-term plan, but drawing a bigger picture with Choi Ji-man could be a problem.” It can be seen as meaning that Choi Ji-man’s position may decrease in the future.
The current situation in Pittsburgh’s outfield also supports this. Second-year outfielder Jack Swinsky (25) is doing well, hitting 4 home runs in the first 12 games, and Bae Ji-hwan (24) and Cannon Smith-Nzigba (24) are also showing potential. With the returning “Pirate Captain” Andrew McCutchen (37) serving as the designated hitter, outfield resources can come in even for Choi’s only position at first base.
At the same time, the media said, “Choi Ji-man will become a free agent after the end of this season, but he is unlikely to renew his contract with Pittsburgh.” He also mentioned the conflict between Pittsburgh and Choi Ji-man, saying, “It goes without saying about the World Baseball Classic (WBC) selection issue and salary adjustment application.”
Choi Ji-man expressed his intention to participate in the WBC held in March this year and was actually included in the national team entry. However, his dream was shattered when the club did not allow it. Here, there was also a case of losing to the club in the salary adjustment application.
Choi Ji-man was loved by fans by playing an active role as a ‘cost-effective’ first baseman in his former team, Tampa Bay. Along with showmanship, he also proved his skills by hitting double-digit home runs in a season four times. However, in Pittsburgh, after a conflict, ‘separation’ is already being mentioned at the point where the end of the season is far away.