Pirates and Ji-Man Choi Exchange Arbitration Figures

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.

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.

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Surprising move by Choi or his agent considering Choi was on verge of a non-tender at Tampa Bay. They probably feel it’s his last bite of the arb apple. Pirates should win this one.


Choi hit .160 post all star and saw his AB’s evaporate while trying for a WC, heard he was injured. he has zero range. Should of saved the money on Velasquez, cuttch, we payed Underwood 1M?
He had many assists in the tanking. Shelty couldn’t wait to put him in a high pressure situation…LOSS. its ok just flush it


So the pirates settled with a majority of their arbitration eligible players this year yet you still call them a “file and trial” team. At what point do we stop assuming things and admit that they do things in a case by case basis, as is rational and expected. They clearly are not a “file and trial” team as you say.


Well that, to me, is utterly arbitrary, drawing the line at filing. And while sports media has described teams this way forever, the fact that pre-filing agreements don’t count is a very “inside baseball” distinction that I think paints a false picture of the pirates (or any other team) as being stingy, stubborn and unwilling to negotiate when that is clearly not true. One would almost think the term was made up just to to make teams look bad.

Negotiations are negotiations. Naturally, if they end up filing it isn’t likely they will see eye to eye AFTER since they most likely already knew how far apart they were. So while it may be true, it isn’t a very interesting observation.

At best it tells someone who understands the delineation of “filing” that a team is just like every other team (they all do it) and at worst it’s a misleading way to describe a team completely because those who don’t know the delineation are made (or asked) to believe the team is stubborn and unwilling to negotiate when, again, that is clearly not at all true.

So I guess, whatever?

Last edited 14 days ago by sewer2001

“File and trial” means the Pirates don’t continue negotiating AFTER the filing deadline. All of the deals they worked out were BEFORE the deadline, so that part is consistent.

That’s not to say they haven’t worked out a deal after the deadline – Reynolds’ extension was after. If you want to point out the inconsistencies, that would be your evidence, not the agreements this year.


I wish my job had mandatory salary arbitration. You seem to get a raise based on what other like people received. Seems like a win win to me.


I wish my job involved my co-workers and I getting together and voting we need a raise. Then deciding how much and when it will take effect. And it doesn’t even matter if I/we were doing an acceptable job at our profession.


You want to be in a Union… Good and Bad.. no one really likes paying dues.


I was when I worked in PA. Now working in SC for 17 years I haven’t. But hey I never have to shovel snow.


Oh, Joy of Choi’s. We’re keeping him. 🙂 🙂

Actually, I kinda like He Sop. Just liked the rhyme better.


I see improvements overall in the infield with Choi as a +2 OAA and Santana as a +3 OAA compared to Chavis who finished 2022 as a -6 OAA. An immediate improvement at 1B and more confidence from the other fielders throwing to 1B.

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