Tampa Bay Rays – Obtain Ji-Man Choi for Brad Miller

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Ji-Man Choi of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during a Spring Training Game at Goodyear Ballpark on February 24, 2018 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Ji-Man Choi of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during a Spring Training Game at Goodyear Ballpark on February 24, 2018 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /
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Getting something in return from Brad Miller is a pleasant ending for the Tampa Bay Rays.  Let’s hope this trade doesn’t haunt them down the road.

A day after he hit a walk-off grand slam home run for the Milwaukee Brewers, Ji-Man Choi finds himself playing for the Tampa Bay Rays.  Well, in the short-term, that will include a trip to Durham to play for the Bulls. The 26-year-old first baseman adds some thump from the left side at a time when Jake Bauers seemingly takes up root at the position at the Trop.

Choi has been well-traveled over the past three seasons, seeing time with the Angels, Yankees and Brewers.  In his limited time, he has slashed .191/.278/.409 in just 179 plate appearances.  But, his minor league numbers are decidedly better with a .305/.405/.496 hit line.

Choi Sees Ghosts

We could talk more about Ji-Man Choi and his role with the Tampa Bay Rays.  In the end, if the Rays are in need of some left-handed pop at first base, designated hitter and an occasional left field, he’ll be our guy.  But, clearly more interesting to this acquisition is this tidbit reported by www.nj.com on July 7, 2017.

"‘I’ve seen ghosts plenty of times’."

That sounds fun.  According to the piece written for Yankees fans in an effort to get to know Choi last season, he and ghosts have been crossing paths since 2011.  Apparently, he has “woken up feeling a spirit on his chest”, or had the opportunity to have ghosts hugging him or hanging out beside him making noises.

Next: Embrace the Youth Movement - Choi adds another piece

So why is this fun for him and the Tampa Bay Rays?  Well, often new Rays players spend their first nights in St. Petersburg lodging at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort.  And stories of that place having a haunted past have circulated for years.  In fact, the book Haunted Baseball by Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon wrote an entire chapter about ghosts and the Vinoy. They sum up the experience this way:

"“Vinoy stories have become so legendary that even some skeptics have started to scratch their heads.”"

All of this simply adds a new and interesting story line to the Tampa Bay Rays.  Several years ago, Joe Maddon made a habit of inviting unusual guests into the clubhouse.  One of those guests was a Rainmaker from a  local Seminole Indian tribe bringing some supernatural powers to the Trop.  I’m not sure Ji-Man Choi would have been impressed.