Minnesota Twins Rumors: Offer made to minor league Korean infielder
The Minnesota Twins have reportedly made a minor league offer to Korean infielder Ji-Man Choi. If signed, how could Choi figure into the 2018 Twins?
The Minnesota Twins, along with 12 other teams, have reportedly made an offer to Ji-Man Choi. At this time it is believed that each deal offered to Choi is a minor league deal. The other teams offering Choi that we know of includes the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Chicago White Sox.
Choi initially came to the United States as a free agent in 2009 when he was signed by the Seattle Mariners. As Choi has bounced around the minor leagues the left-handed hitter has almost always proven he has the ability to hit. Defensively, Choi has played first base and left field.
In 2015, the Mariners granted Choi free agency and he was then signed by the Orioles who didn’t protect him on their 40-man roster before the Rule-5 draft. That allowed the Angels to select him and Choi spent the 2016 season with the Angels before he was granted free agency again at season’s end and signed with the Yankees. While with the Yankee organization, Choi turned in an impressive Triple-A season in 2017 as he slashed .288/.373/.538 in 87 Triple-A games. After 2017 Choi’s career numbers at Triple-A currently sit at a slash line of .298/.390/.479.
Choi’s Triple-A performance was rewarded as he was given a chance to play 6 games this year in the majors with the Yankees. He took advantage of that opportunity and hit .267/.333/.733 while adding two home runs. It is the potential shown in that brief major league stint that Choi’s representation points to as the reason for the heavy interest in their client this offseason. In a Korean newspaper, it was reported that one deal offered to Choi is even for as much as $1.4 million with perks such as first-class airline seats and a personal interpreter.
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The Twins likely view Choi as a depth minor league signing for the 2018 Twins. Choi is a solid minor league journeyman who could help bolster competitive baseball for the Twins minor league affiliates in 2018. As a left-handed hitting, first baseman he simply doesn’t profile to help the major league club right now. And in his short major league stints, he has never gotten a hit off of a left-handed pitcher and has only been given 8 plate appearance to try to do so.
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In case you are a fan of the Twins signing Mike Napoli, don’t worry, this shouldn’t stop any efforts by the Twins on that front. This is a signing that has little chance to have an impact on the major league club this season but will go a long way in strengthening the minors.