The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-signed infielder Jung Ho Kang to a one-year deal. There is no word yet on the money involved.
We do know, however, that it’ll be less than $5.5 million, as that was the amount of the option that the Pirates had on Kang for 2018 but declined at the end of the season. Doing so made sense, of course, as Kang has missed nearly two full years after a DUI arrest in December 2016 led to visa issues keeping him from returning to the United States. He did make it back this past season and rehabbed in the minors for 16 games before an injury cut that short.
The layoff notwithstanding, Kang could certainly feature prominently in the Pirates’ 2018 plans, especially given that they are likely parting ways with infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer. As it is, Kang would seem to fit best at third base, possibly as platoon partner with Colin Moran.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.