The New York Yankees have reportedly signed South Korean native Ji-Man Choi to a minor-league contract.
The New York Yankees have reportedly given Ji-Man Choi, a native of South Korea, a minor league deal.
The contract is worth $700,000 and includes an invite to Spring Training at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
According to the initial report by Yonhap News Agency, an additional $400,000 in incentives will head Choi’s way if he earns a major league roster spot.
Choi was originally signed by the Seattle Mariners back in 2009 and after finding his way to the Baltimore Orioles, he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2015 Rule-5 draft.
A career .263 hitter in South Korea, Choi made his major league debut on April 5, 2016, with the Angels and played in 54 games. He slashed .170/.271/.339 with five home runs in 112 at-bats.
The 25-year old also saw time at first base, left field and DH while making just one error in 265 total innings in the field.
Back in 2014, Choi received a 50-game suspension without pay for testing positive for methandienone, a performance-enhancing substance.
He slashed .308/.408/.488 over six seasons in the minors but has yet to see the power demonstrated (18 home runs in 2013) since his suspension — finding it difficult to tap into his power without an artificial assistant.
Despite the Spring Training invite, Greg Bird, Tyler Austin and Rob Refsnyder will likely rank ahead of Choi on the depth chart to begin the 2017 season.
But hey, injuries happen. And with options remaining, Choi will likely start the year in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and serve as an injury replacement.