Pirates Rumors: Jung Ho Kang Re-Signs on 1-Year Contract

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 8, 2018

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2016 file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates' Jung Ho Kang rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis.  Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang has been left off South Korea's roster for the World Baseball Classic while he remains subject to a criminal investigation into allegations that he fled the scene after crashing a car into a guardrail while driving under the influence of alcohol. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Pirates maintained some depth in the infield by agreeing to a deal with third baseman Jung Ho Kang. 

Per MLB.com's Adam Berry, Kang re-signed with the Pirates on a one-year contract after he played just three games during the 2018 season. 

Kang has had off-field issues that have limited him to just three games since the start of 2017. He was arrested and charged with fleeing the scene of a DUI accident in his native South Korea. 

The Seoul Central District Court issued Kang a two-year suspended prison sentence in March 2017, which made him unable to obtain a work visa. His appeal was upheld that May, making him ineligible to work in the United States. The Pirates placed him on the restricted list.

Kang was able to secure a work visa and cleared to return to the Pirates last April. He issued a statement about the situation, via Berry:

"After a long, painful process, I am excited to have a chance to return to the game that I have missed so much. My focus is first on becoming the best person that I can be. Secondly, I look forward to getting to Pirate City and demonstrating that I am committed to doing whatever I can to get back to Pittsburgh and help the Pirates win. I will not disappoint anyone anymore."

Kang missed time last season after undergoing wrist surgery in August. The 31-year-old has hit .274/.355/.482 in 232 career games with the Pirates. 

The Pirates will likely use Kang, who has a .737 career OPS against left-handed pitching, in a platoon at third base with Colin Moran (.503 OPS vs. left-handed pitching in 2018).