Choi Ji-man (32, Pittsburgh Pirates) failed to participate in the World Baseball Classic (WBC). The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said, ‘The Pittsburgh club expressed its intention to oppose participation in the WBCI, the WBC organizing committee, on the grounds of Choi Ji-man’s surgery history. The WBCI announced on the 6th that it held an injury review committee and deliberated on Choi Ji-man’s participation. Choi Ji-man underwent surgery to remove bone fragments in his right elbow in November last year. The Pittsburgh 안전놀이터club judged that Choi Ji-man’s physical condition was not good enough to play in the tournament.
This is a somewhat expected conclusion. Pittsburgh carried out a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in November last year and recruited Choi Ji-man. He was on the verge of elbow surgery. Choi Ji-man is likely to be Pittsburgh’s starting first baseman this season, so the club has no choice but to pay close attention to the condition of his elbow. Major League Baseball (MLB) commentator Song Jae-woo said, “From the first time I heard that Choi Ji-man was going to undergo surgery, I thought it would not be easy to play in the WBC.” If the player (playing in the WBC) gets injured again in the area where the surgery was performed, the recruiting effect will be lost.” Recently, ESPN, a US sports channel, predicted the summer trade market and mentioned the possibility of only Choi’s trade. Before he even played an official game for Pittsburgh, he was listed as his trade and attracted attention.
Choi Ji-man has not currently signed an annual salary contract for the 2023 season. He asked for an annual salary of 5.4 million dollars (6.8 billion won) and is confronting the club, which offered 4.65 million dollars (5.8 billion won). No matter what amount he receives, he is listed as a high-paid player in the team. Pittsburgh, a small market club, has only one third baseman, Kybrian Hayes ($10 million), with an annual salary of more than 10 million dollars (12.5 billion won) this year. Pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Brian Reynolds follow, but their annual salaries are $8 million (10 billion won) and $6.75 million (8.5 billion won). Compared to other clubs, the overall salary level is quite low.
According to Spottrak, an annual salary site, Pittsburgh’s annual salary for the 2023 season does not exceed 60 million dollars (75 billion won). 28th out of 30 MLB teams. Choi Ji-man, a high-paid player, is one of the players on the team that needs to be ‘managed’. Member Song Jae-woo said, “Pittsburgh is not a club with a lot of money. In particular, they are currently rebuilding (selling key players and creating a new team).” will disappear,” he said. Pittsburgh is now reportedly putting Reynolds on the trade market. Reynolds, the main outfielder in his 5th year in the big leagues, is more likely to transfer this year. Choi Ji-man can also use it as a trade card.
Even if Pittsburgh uses only Choi, ‘health’ must be guaranteed first. Getting injured at the WBC is the worst case scenario.
What is frustrating is the player. Choi Ji-man, who was excluded from the WBC final entry, said, “All athletes, regardless of sport, would have dreamed of playing as a representative of their country with a national flag on their chest. But is it because I had high expectations? The disappointment and frustration of the decision to not be accepted is also very high.”