Pirates and Jung-ho Kang expected to get a deal done next week

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The Pirates secured exclusive negotiating rights for infielder Jung-ho Kang with a $5,002,015 posting fee late last month and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports’ hears that the two sides are close to a four-year deal.

Kang’s agent, Alan Nero, told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he anticipates getting a deal done “mid next week.” No word on the potential terms being discussed, but reports out of Korea say he’s looking for a four-year, $20 million contract. The two sides have until January 20 to work out a deal. If they are unable to reach an agreement, Pittsburgh will get their posting fee back and Kang will return to his team in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization).

Kang batted .354/.457/.733 with 39 home runs and 115 RBI in 116 games last season Nexen Heroes, but there are questions about how his bat will translate in MLB and he might not be able to stay at shortstop. There’s no clear fit for the 27-year-old in the Pirates’ starting lineup right now, as they already have Neil Walker at second base, Jordy Mercer at shortstop, and Josh Harrison at third.

Report: Rangers sign Jordan Lyles to two-year, $16 million deal

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers and pitcher Jordan Lyles have agreed to a contract. ESPN’s Jeff Passan provided the details, reporting that it is a two-year, $16 million deal.

Lyles, 29, split last season between the Pirates and Brewers, performing much better with the latter. Overall, he compiled a 4.15 ERA with a 146 strikeouts and 55 walks across 141 innings. It was a return to full-time starting for Lyles, who had performed mostly as a reliever from 2016-18.

The Rangers also inked Kyle Gibson to a three-year, $30 million contract last week. Gibson and Lyles will join a rotation that also includes Mike Minor and Lance Lynn as well as youngster Kolby Allard.