Tampa Bay is a typical small-market team. They don’t have the money to spend on big free agents. As a result, they emphasize their farm system and are known for acquiring undervalued players and using them in the right places.
Tampa Bay’s approach has been successful, and they’ve become a team that can compete with the big-market teams. Typically, a team’s star players who are approaching free agency are traded to acquire prospects. Choi, 32, Pittsburgh, was no exception. Tampa Bay traded Choi to Pittsburgh after last season, when he was one year away from free agency.
It was a trade that had its concerns. Choi was one of the team’s key players. Despite his platoon wall, he still got a lot of playing time. He played 127 games in 2019 and 113 games last year. That number could have been higher if he hadn’t been injured, and it’s not like the Rays had a first baseman in free agency to replace him. But Tampa Bay didn’t hesitate.
On the contrary, they made a different 먹튀검증 choice with Yandy Diaz (32), who is the same age as Choi. After trading Choi, the Rays signed him to a three-year, $24 million extension before this season. He also has a team option for 2026. Tampa Bay’s policy of offering extensions to players in their 30s is certainly not easy to see. They traded Choi and locked up Diaz. It was a contradictory move.
Choi and Dias had position overlap. Choi sees first base or the designated hitter, while Diaz sees first base or third base and the designated hitter, so they were competitors for first base and sometimes partners in splitting first base and the designated hitter. But Tampa Bay’s move with Diaz is paying off. Diaz is having a breakout year.
In his seven years in the majors, Diaz has a .282 batting average, .376 on-base percentage, and .426 slugging percentage in 530 games. He’s not a typical slugger, as his on-base percentage suggests. He’s more of a run-scoring hitter. Díaz is a very patient player at the plate, and he’s a hitter who rarely leaves the zone. This is exactly the type of hitter a team needs, but his performance this year has been completely different. It’s been a big year.