Former Yankees’ first baseman Ji-Man Choi has signed a deal with the Brewers, as noted by Sung Min Kim of River Avenue Blues.
1B Ji-Man Choi has signed with the #Brewers for a deal that could accrue up to $1.5 million ($850,000 if he makes the ML roster + incentives), his agency announces. Was with the #Yankees org in 2017. https://t.co/TL6VyythUe
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) January 15, 2018
Choi is a good bat, an able first baseman and left fielder, and has spent time with the Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Yankees in his nearly ten years in professional baseball in the United States. He originally signed with the Mariners out of Korea in 2009 and was added to the 40-man roster at the end of the 2013 season, but in April of 2014, he was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for methandienone, which he claimed he did not know he had taken.
When he returned to the Mariners in 2015, he broke his fibula in the first game of Mariners’ Spring Training and was soon designated for assignment. Thereafter, he signed a minor league deal with the Orioles, but was picked up by the Angels in the Rule 5 Draft that year.
2016 saw Choi up and down with the Angels. When he was in the Pacific Coast League he wore out the pitchers, hitting .346 in 53 games, but when he got to the Major Leagues, he hit only .170 with 5 homers over 54 games with the Angels. The Angels cut ties with Choi after the 2016 season.
He said that he struggled in the majors because he wasn’t consistently in the lineup and that again proved to be true in his 2017 season with the Yankees. Choi signed a minor league deal with the Yankees for the 2017 season with an non-roster invite to Spring Training. He didn’t have a good Spring Training with the Yankees, hitting .200 with no homers in 30 at-bats over 20 Grapefruit League games.
When he made his Yankee debut on July 4, he hit a 457-foot, two-run blast that traveled further than all but three of Judge’s first 29 home runs and was, at the time he hit it, the 41st longest home run in the majors, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker. The Yankees designated Choi for assignment on July 19th and outrighted him for assignment to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre on July 23.
His numbers in Triple-A in 2017 were good, as he hit .289 with eight home runs, 43 runs batted in across 56 games. In the last seven games of the season, he hit .357 (10-for-28) with five home runs and 13 runs batted in.
The Brewers have gotten a potential solid hitter in Ji-Man Choi, who may just be able to find his stroke and success at the big league level in 2018.