In past years I would not make much of an effort to post about the Yankees’ possible interest in role players, but in a world where their failure to land guys like Jeff Keppinger and Nate Schierholtz actually upsets people, this is relevant:
The Yankees starting outfield is Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki … The Yankees still have an interest in signing another outfielder and remain interested in Scott Hairston.
This comes from Kevin Kernan in his column about the Matt Diaz signing, which suggests that the Yankees are not content to go with those three starters, Diaz and a prayer. Hairston hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 homers and 57 RBI in 377 at-bats with the Mets last year. The OBP is scary, but the pop and flexibility — Hairston can play all three outfield positions — would be welcome. Especially if Ichiro reverts to his 2011-early-2012 form.
Earlier this offseason it was reported that Hairston wanted a multi-year deal. The Yankees have been loathe to do that with anyone — they were forced to do so with Ichiro thanks to a bidding war — so it’s not at all certain that Hairston would be interested in pinstripes. Especially considering that the Cardinals, Giants, Indians and Tigers had previously expressed interest.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been granted a work visa and will soon rejoin the Pirates. Kang had previously not been allowed to enter the U.S. after he was arrested for his third DUI in Seoul in December 2016.
There was some thought that Kang wouldn’t ever play for the Pirates again, but things have worked out in his favor. It will still likely be a while until he actually appears in a major league game, as he will need to get back into game shape and up to game speed.
Pirates president Frank Coonelly said, “After a lengthy process, we are pleased that Jung Ho has been allowed to re-enter the United States. We are encouraged by the steps that Jung Ho has taken to date and are hopeful that having the games he loves taken away from him for more than a year has driven home the reality that he must make better life decisions as we move forward together.
As we have communicated to him throughout this process, we will work to provide Jung Ho with the resources and support necessary for him to meet the high expectations that we have for him as a member of our organization and our community.”
The Pirates signed Kang as an international free agent out of South Korea to a four-year, $11 million contract in January 2015. If he were to appear in the majors this season, he would earn a prorated $3 million. He has a club option for next season worth $5.5 million with a $250,000 buyout.