The Astros are reportedly looking at Tampa Bay’s Ji-man Choi as a fallback trade option ahead of the deadline. Here’s how he could help the team.
With the trade deadline slowly creeping up, teams are determined to make moves that could possibly bolster their roster to make a World Series run. Not too long ago Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that the Houston Astros “are showing interest in (Rays first baseman) Ji-man Choi as a possible alternative”, that alternative being first baseman Josh Bell of the Washington Nationals.
He isn’t their top target, but it would make sense as to why the Astros may resort to Ji-man Choi. The Nationals are rumored to be having a high asking price for Josh Bell. Yes, Bell is a better player than Choi but if the Astros can give up less of a package, then it’s a great move and it would still be an upgrade over Yuli Gurriel.
In 2022, Choi has 8 HR, and 44 RBI, along with a .261 AVG and 129 OPS+. He has solid stats all across the board but the one “risk” is having Choi hit against left-handed pitchers. His numbers (.333/.366/.802) are solid but the Rays have only given him 39 at-bats against LHP compared to his 210 at-bats against RHP.
With a possible acquisition of Ji-man Choi, the Astros lineup could look like this:
- Jose Altuve, 2B
- Kyle Tucker, RF
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Yordan Alvarez, DH
- Jeremy Pena, SS
- Ji-man Choi, 1B
- Chas McCormick, LF
- Jake Meyers, CF
- Martin Maldonado, C
Yuli Gurriel just hasn’t produced as expected for the Astros and an upgrade like Choi will improve the lineup even more, especially come playoff time. It’s important to note that Gurriel would likely still get playing time against left-handed starting pitchers if Ji-man Choi were to be acquired. In 2022, Gurriel is hitting .266/.302/.751, along with 3 HR and 11 RBI in 109 at-bats, against LHP.
Not only would Choi produce offensively for this team but he is a great guy to have in the clubhouse. His energy and love for the game that he has shown with the Tampa Bay Rays can help teams go a long way.