Jung Ho Kang’s availability this spring has always been cloudy. The situation has now taken a turn where the Pirates are planning ahead with him not being part of the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates.
In another twist in the saga, Kang has been denied a working visa and there’s more potential trouble.
One of the primary reasons Kang and his representatives have struggled to get him a working visa is that there’s suspicion he’s been convicted of a fourth DUI in a third country.
Report also stated that there's a suspicion that Kang may have been convicted of drunk driving in a third country other than Korea and U.S.
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) March 24, 2017
The Pirates have constantly stood behind Kang but more and more pressure is building to break ties.
A Pirates source says this morning “we’re moving forward without him” in regards to the 2017 season. “It’s disappointing” the source added.
The Kang off the field saga makes it even more important the Pirates didn’t trade Josh Harrison this off-season, something management explored to move salary, though, there was a lot of push back from Clint Hurdle.
David Freese is now entrenched as the starting third baseman.
Pittsburgh’s bench was weakened in the off-season, losing Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce to free agency.
Adam Frazier who hit .301 in 146 at-bats in 2016, appeared in 66 games last season and becomes one of the Pirates primary options off the bench. Frazier with position flexibility to play both corner outfield positions, also appeared in 17 games at second base, 5 at third base in 2016.
Jose Osuna is believed to have a spot locked up with the Kang news.
Phil Gosselin who has been battling Alen Hanson for a roster spot, can also play all over the infield but is more experienced at second base.
It was a telling sign that the Pirates also started giving John Jaso reps at third base this week.
The bench still has position flexibility, especially when you factor in Josh Harrison who can also move around everywhere. The bench, though, just can’t hit.[/hide]
[Photo: David Hague]