The Pirates picked up another option at third base on Monday, acquiring Casey McGehee from the Brewers for right-hander Jose Veras.
Both players were considered candidates to be non-tendered this evening.
McGehee, 29, followed up two surprisingly strong seasons for the Brewers by hitting .223/.280/.346 with 13 homers and 67 RBI in 546 at-bats last year. That caused the Brewers to make third base a priority this winter and that need was addressed by the Aramis Ramirez signing on Monday.
Veras, who served as a setup man in front of Joel Hanrahan in Pittsburgh, will help fill the bullpen holes left by the exits of LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito in Milwaukee. The 31-year-old has always battled control issues, but he’s finished with ERAs of 3.75 and 3.80 the last two years. In his career, he’s struck out 249 and walked 132 over 247 1/3 innings.
McGehee can likely be penciled in as Pittsburgh’s third baseman for now, though the team also has a vacancy at first. If that’s not filled by Derrek Lee or another free agent, then the Pirates could open the season with former first-round pick Pedro Alvarez at third and McGehee at first. However, Alvarez seems in need of some additional minor league time and may end up at first base himself.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Blue Jays have signed Steve Pearce to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million.
Pearce, 33 had some health issues in 2016, but he hit .288/.374/.492 across 302 plate appearances when he was on the field and he mashes lefties in particular. Pearce is versatile as well, logging time at first base, second base, right field, left field, and DH in 2016 while splitting time between the Rays and Orioles.
Last week Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was arrested in South Korea for driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. That’s bad, but it turns out that it’s nothing new. The Yonhapnews Agency reports that Kang has been arrested for DUI three times since 2009:
Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul confirmed that it was Kang’s third DUI arrest, with the three strikes law resulting in the immediate revocation of his license. According to police, Kang had also been arrested for a DUI in August 2009 and May 2011. No personal injuries were reported in either case, though he’d caused property damage in the latter incident.
The report also notes that a companion of Kang initially claimed that he, and not Kang, was behind the wheel at the time of the accident which led to Kang’s arrest last week. It was later revealed by the car’s black box, however, that Kang was driving. So add in some obstruction of justice, whether it is charged or not, to the scene. Police are investigating that.
Between all of this and the fact that Kang is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in Chicago this past season, a pretty ugly portrait of the Pirates’ infielder is beginning to reveal itself.