xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Report: Orioles sign South Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi to minor league deal

View from the upper deck at Camden Yards. Shot with iPhone 5s Pano.
View from the upper deck at Camden Yards. Shot with iPhone 5s Pano.(Posted by PARKS FOUNDATION, Community Contributor)

The Orioles have signed South Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training, according to an online report out of South Korea.

According to a report from Ilgan Sports, the Orioles signed Choi – who spent the past five years in the Seattle Mariners minor league system – to a deal worth $650,000 if he makes the major league club with incentives that could increase the total value to more than $1 million. The deal also includes a July 1 opt-out clause.

Advertisement

Despite struggling to stay on the field the past two seasons because of injury and a drug suspension, the 24-year-old Choi has posted strong on-base numbers in the minors, including a .280/.379/.401 slash line in 101 games at the Triple-A level. His power numbers in the minors, however, aren't typical of a first baseman.

Choi was Mariners' 25th-best prospect according to Baseball America before the 2014 season, and was on the club's 40-man roster throughout that season. He also played in the 2013 All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field in New York.

Advertisement

He entered spring training last year competing for a backup role at first base, but missed most of the season with a broken leg he suffered in the Mariners' Cactus League opener.

He spent parts of the past three seasons playing at the Triple-A level, hitting .298/.403/.421 with one homer and 16 RBIs in 18 games for Triple-A Tacoma in 2015.

Choi also missed part of the 2014 season serving a 50-game suspension for a failed drug test. After he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance called methandienone, Choi said he didn't knowingly take any banned substance.  He hit .283/.381/.392 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 70 games with Tacoma in 2014.

He also missed the entire 2011 season with a back injury.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement