Padres are buyers, add Ji-Man Choi and Rich Hill from Pirates
The San Diego Padres have confirmed that they are indeed buyers, and did a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Rich Hill and Ji-Man Choi.
The San Diego Padres are done for in 2023, ready to write it off and sell up. At least that is the narrative that has been spun around the National League, particularly just up the I-5 in Los Angeles. The only problem with that narrative is that nobody bothered to ask the Padres themselves.
It turns out that San Diego isn’t quite as ready to throw in the towel as everybody else seems to think. Reaffirming their status as buyers, they have completed a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire left-handed starter Rich Hill and first baseman Ji-Man Choi.
By all reasoning, the two players are having moderate seasons, particularly Choi who set the league on fire just a year ago. But an achilles injury has left him both literally and metaphorically hobbled. So far this season he is slashing .205 / .224 / .731 on just 73 at-bats with six home runs and 11 RBIs.
The areas that the Padres identified as their primary needs are the rotation and first base, and in this respect, they are making a sizeable upgrade. Choi is a huge hitter from the left side and that is a key element that this lineup has been lacking.
The power that he offers will see him likely starting as DH, although he can come off the bench to make room for right handed hitters to start.
As for Hill, the 19-year veteran is now moving to his 13th team in MLB. Over 22 starts this season with Pittsburgh, Hill has a 4.76 ERA and has struck out 104 on 119.0 innings pitched for a very respectable 1.48 WHIP.
He will slot into an already-impressive rotation along with Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Seth Lugo. The Pirates will receive three prospects in return. Left-hander Jackson Wolf, outfielder Estuar Suero, and first baseman Alfonso Rivas.