New York Yankees: Can Ji-man Choi steal a roster spot?

The New York Yankees added Ji-Man Choi yesterday on a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Can he steal a roster spot?

The New York Yankees have been quiet since adding Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday in free agency. GM Brian Cashman always likes to tinker around the edges of the roster. He is one of the best at doing that. That leads to this signing as the Yankees added former Los Angeles Angel Ji-man Choi on a minor league deal.

The 25 year old elected free agency after being DFA’d by the Angels when they inked Ben Revere to a contract earlier in the off-season.

Choi hit just .170 in 54 games last year with a .611 OPS. In 53 AAA games last season, Choi hit .346 with a .960 OPS. The question is whether some of that ability will translate to the majors.

The Yankees have a ton of corner outfield and first baseman. Greg Bird is coming back from a shoulder injury. Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge made their major league debuts last season. Rob Refsnyder can play all over, including right field and first base. Aaron Hicks and Mason Williams can play all over the outfield.

Choi had multiple offers, but decided to take the Yankees deal where he will make $700,000 with a $400,000 if he makes the major league roster.

He has a tough road if he’s going to make the Yankees opening day roster. The Yankees 40 man roster is quite crowded to begin with. Secondly, the corner outfield and first base spots are crowded too. Choi has to be excellent during Spring Training, enough to the point where they decided to send Austin and Refsnyder down to AAA to get regular at-bats and keep Choi as a bat off the bench and someone to play maybe once a week as a backup.

Choi will provide the Yankees some depth at those positions and if he goes to AAA and succeeds, he could be the next man up in case of an injury or if they would like to maybe mix up the combination that they have on their bench.  I don’t think Choi will make the club, but it wouldn’t shock me to see him up with the club at some point during 2017 if he does well in Scranton.

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