Pirates acquire 1B Ji-Man Choi from Rays

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired first baseman Ji-Man Choi from Tampa Bay on Thursday in exchange for minor league pitcher Sam Hartman.

The move gives the Pirates a veteran bat with a chance to provide the team with a short-term solution at a position it has struggled to fill since trading Josh Bell to Washington in December 2020.

The 31-year-old Choi is a career .239 hitter in seven seasons with 61 home runs and 225 RBIs in 486 games spread among four teams. Choi spent the last four-plus seasons with Tampa Bay. He hit .233 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in 113 games with the Rays in 2022.

First base has been a revolving door for the Pirates since Bell’s departure. The players who made at least one start at first base for Pittsburgh in 2022 included Kevin Chavis, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Josh VanMeter, Bligh Madris and Daniel Vogelbach.

Choi is in his third and final year of arbitration. He made $3.2 million last year for the Rays.

Hartman, a fourth-round pick by the Pirates in 2020, had Tommy John surgery on his right arm in late 2020. He appeared in 22 games for Bradenton, Pittsburgh’s Class-A affiliate, in 2022. Hartman went 0-1 with a 6.27 ERA with 16 walks and 19 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings of work.

The Pirates also made a flurry of roster moves following the trade. The Pirates also reinstated OF Canaan Smith-Njigba, RHP Colin Holderman, RHP Yerry De Los Santos, RHP Blake Cederlind and RHP Max Kranick from the 60-day injured list.

Cederlind, RHP Peter Solomon, RHP Beau Sulser, C Jason Delay, LHP Eric Stout and C/1B Zack Collins have been removed from the 40-man roster, cleared waivers and outrighted to Triple-A. Stout and Collins have become free agents.

The Rays reinstated five players – second baseman Brandon Lowe and pitchers Shane Baz, J.P. Feyereisen, Andrew Kittredge and Ryan Thompson – from the 60-day injured list and added them to the 40-man roster.

Earlier this week, the team placed outfielder Roman Quinn and pitchers Nick Anderson, Brendan McKay and Jimmy Yacabonis on outright waivers.

Anderson, McKay, Yacabonis and Quinn all cleared waivers. The Rays outrighted McKay to Triple-A Durham, while Anderson and Quinn elected free agency. Yacabonis became a minor league free agent on Thursday.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.