Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said today that Jung Ho Kang will be the team’s starting third baseman.
It’s been a long way back for Kang, who 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 made it back for three games last season before an injury cut that short. The Pirates declined his $5.5 million 2019 option over the winter and re-signed him to a one-year deal paying him $3 million. Given that low price tag it’s not a shock that the Pirates decided to go with Kang.
Kang has hit .274/.355/.482 in 232 big league games.
Everyone suspected this would happen and now it has: Gio González has requested and has been granted his release from his minor league deal with the Yankees. He is a free agent.
González stood to earn a $3 million salary if the Yankees elect to add him to the 25-man roster, with additional bonuses of $300,000 pending each start he makes after that, but nothing he did at Triple-A merited a callup. He issued 10 runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts over his first 15 innings in the minors. He fired his agent, Scott Boras, late last week and hired CAA Baseball instead.
No word on whether CAA will be better at convincing anyone to sign a guy who walked six guys in 15 minor league innings to a big league deal than Boras was, frankly. My guess is that González will be on another minor league deal again soon if he wants to pitch in 2019.