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Rays trade Ji-Man Choi & cut five players, including Kevin Kiermaier

Among the cuts, LHP Brendan McKay has been retained and will be on the Triple-A roster.

American League Championship Series Game 3: Tampa Bay Rays v. Houston Astros Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays have made six roster moves this week, having officially declined the 2023 club option on CF Kevin Kiermaier this afternoon, making him a free agent, and rounding out the roster deadline with the trade of 1B Ji-Man Choi to the Pirates.

Earlier this week the Rays placed RHP Nick Anderson, LHP Brendan McKay, OF Roman Quinn and RHP Jimmy Yacabonis on outright waivers.

All four cleared waivers. McKay has been outrighted to Triple-A Durham. Anderson and Quinn have elected free agency, while Yacabonis became a minor league free agent at 5 p.m.

News of the Choi trade was broken by our own Homin Lee, in terms of the US side of twitter, which is a fun oddity in an otherwise sad end to those here who love Choi. An injured elbow made 2022 resulted in a lackluster season for Choi.

His departure, alongside Kiermaier, eliminates two of the longest tenured Rays to play for the franchise in some time.

The trade of Choi was necessary to make room on the 40-man roster for the five injured Rays who needed to be reinstated.

Sadly, neither veteran departure was surprising after injury and lack of performance this season.

The decision to decline the $13 million option on Kiermaier seemed a given heading into the off-season, with just a $2.5 million buyout available for the oft injured elite defensive centerfielder. When healthy there’s been no one better at his position defensively, but with the acquisition of Jose Siri to aptly fill his shoes after a season ending injury, the Rays had clearly already moved on from a roster construction perspective.

Choi will at least return a prospect back to the Rays: former TCC Eagle Jack Hartman who was drafted as a pitcher in the fourth round in 2020, despite primarily playing infield in college.