What the Padres Got with Rich Hill and Ji-Man Choi

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The Padres’ 2023 season has not gone to plan, but San Diego added two new pieces to try to make a run towards a playoff spot this season. Left-hander Rich Hill and 1B Ji-Man Choi are headed to the Padres, in exchange for three prospects. Here’s a closer look at the deal.

Related: What the Braves Got with Brad Hand

A Look at Hill and Choi

The Padres will be the 13th team that Rich Hill will suit up for his in his MLB career. The well-traveled left-hander went 7-10 in Pittsburgh, and owned a 4.76 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 2023.

While those numbers are not particularly impressive, Hill can spin a pretty good curveball that he’ll throw all over the zone, has above-average movement, and is still tough to pick up. He’s used that curve more this season, and the same can be said for the cutter. However, hitters have hit .379 off his cut fastball in 2023.

Hill will join a rotation that includes Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Seth Lugo, and Blake Snell – the latter of whom has had a stellar season in San Diego. Michael Wacha is currently on the IL.

The other piece in this deal is Ji-Man Choi. Choi’s had just 76 plate appearances this season, most of which came in July. The 32-year-old’s hit well as of late, as Choi recorded a hit in five of his last seven games, and two home runs in that span.

Choi’s ceiling has been limited thanks to his penchant to whiff at pitches in the zone. He’s got plenty of power, though, and he does have above-average plate discipline. He figures to get time at first and DH.

Left-hander Jackson Wolf, who made his MLB debut on July 22, is one of the pieces that will head to Pittsburgh as part of the deal. Estuar Suero and Alfonso Rivas are also going to the Pirates in this deal.

What it Means for the Padres

The Padres’ 2023 campaign has not gone to plan, and that continued on July 31 when the Rockies beat Seth Lugo and San Diego in a rain-soaked affair. That loss pushed the Padres to 52-55, and San Diego is now 8.5 games out of first in the NL West and five games back of the last NL Wild Card spot.

San Diego still has a chance. But in order to move up in the playoff race, the Padres will need to get spotless results from the rotation and the team’s stars in the lineup to come through. The pitching’s been great as of late, and the Padres will hope that Hill can provide depth to the rotation.