The Braves signed free agent Sean Rodriguez to a two-year, $11.5 million contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Thursday afternoon. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the specific figures: Rodriguez will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus and $5 million in each of the next two seasons.
Rodriguez, 31, can play all over the diamond. Last season, he played seven of nine positions on the diamond, excluding pitcher and catcher, logging 100-plus defensive innings at first base, second base, shortstop, and right field. He hit .270/.349/.510 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 342 plate appearances.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, Rodriguez figures to spell Freddie Freeman at first base and Nick Markakis in right field. Rodriguez could also play some second base along with Jace Peterson until prospect Ozzie Albies is deemed ready.
Rodriguez is the Braves’ third free agent signing of the offseason, as the club also inked R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon to contracts.
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.