Yankees have a deal “in place” with Travis Hafner

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Yesterday the Yankees were said to be close to signing Travis Hafner and now Chad Jennings of the New York Journal News reports that “the deal is in place” and could be announced as soon as today.

No word yet on the specifics, but Jennings speculates that it’ll be similar to the one-year, $1.1 million deal Raul Ibanez got to leave the Yankees for the Mariners.

Hafner can’t stay healthy and is purely a designated hitter, but as a part-time bat versus right-handed pitching he remains plenty dangerous and certainly worth that type of modest commitment.

During the past three seasons Hafner hit .278 with an .855 OPS versus righties. For comparison, over that same span Ibanez hit .261 with a .793 OPS versus righties.

Jung Ho Kang granted work visa to re-enter the U.S.

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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.