Jon Heyman Reports Pirates and Jung-Ho Kang Are Close to a Deal

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang are close to a deal and it will likely be for four years. Early word said that Kang and his agent were seeking a deal worth $20 M over four seasons, which would be on top of the $5,002,015 bid the Pirates submitted to win the rights to negotiate with Kang.  Heyman says the Pirates “are amenable to the length of the deal as their interest is strong”.

UPDATE 3:20 PM: It sounds like the two sides won’t get anything done over the weekend as two sources are now reporting negotiations will now go into next week. If there are any updates, we will report them here.

  • I’m not sure exactly why Pirates are trying for this move. Kang will
    have so many question marks and I think it will hard for him to adjust
    to MLB pitching as well as off-field related issues. From what I’ve
    read about with, I do think he speak fluent english which will make it
    harder for him to acclimate. Also I think that the KBL is eventually to
    A to A+ ball. This league kind of lacks talent depth compare to the
    Japanse leagues. Honestly, if we do sign him, he should go to AA and
    AAA first despite the money being paid to him. It will ultimately help
    him to adjust to MLB pitching and relieve some of the pressure in terms
    of expectations.

    My vote goes for Kodos.

    • TheSharkTankisNasty
      January 10, 2015 10:53 pm

      It doesn’t matter if he can’t speak english. I’m pretty sure they will hire a translator (which has been done before with Asian and Latin players). If they are going to give him a 4 year contract worth around $20 million, I bet they’re going to hire an interpreter so they can communicate with him.

      And while the fan in me would want to see him up in the majors immediately, I agree that he should spend the first month or so in AAA just so he can get acclimated to major league (or close to major league) pitching.

  • Kang will be good player

  • The only concern i have on this team is the lack of power,particularly right handed,in the middle of the order and the amount of unknown after the first two rotation spots, but we do have a lot of depth and quality options. Especially around mid season with the possible additions of Taillon and Kingham.

    • Last year PIT finished tied for 7th in the NL in HRs by RHH, so middle of the pack, with the only huge loss being power from Martin (low teens) to Cervelli (if healthy likely below ten). Maybe Walker regresses and hit 18, so not great team power but likely still near half depending on how power does next year league wide.

      I actually like our back end better than i have in awhile. You know what you get with a healthy Worley (throws strikes, tries to work ahead and keep it down) and Morton coming back at some point. AJ, for me, will benefit greatly from a better defense and health. Every rotation hinges on health, but id say if STL doesnt improve their rotation ours compares 1-5 really well with theirs. Their 1 is better, we have more balance 3-5.

    • I think RH power, at least relative to the rest of the league, could actually be a strength in the middle of the order with that lineup.

      Cutch has averaged 25 HR over the last three years, and the only thing keeping Marte from being a 20+ HR player is the number of fly balls he puts in play, a number that’s been increasing every season since his debut.

      Also particularly excited about that Marte-Alvarez combo. Really hope Hurdle tries that out. Either Alvarez is going to get more fastballs to hit as pitchers worry about Marte’s speed, or Marte is going to run wild on all the breaking balls fed to Alvarez as pitchers worry about his power.

  • Opening day lineup and Bench WOW
    1. Harrison 3B
    2. Polanco RF
    3. McCutchen CF
    4. Walker 2B
    5. Marte LF
    6. Alvarez 1B
    7. Mercer SS
    8. Cervelli C
    9. Cole P
    Bench: Kang, Snider,Rodriguez,Hart, Stewart
    This roster is set if everyone is healthy as soon as Kang signs. The only spots on the 25 man up for grabs is a couple bullpen spots. Rotation : Cole,Liriano,Burnett,Worley, Locke (Morton could push Locke or Worley to the pen when healthy) Bullpen Melancon,Watson,Holdzkom,Bastardo,Hughes,Pimentel,Liz. That is a TON of talent on a 25 man roster. on offense you have Power,Speed,Defense. Every starter and a couple of the bench players are easily capable of hitting 270 except Alvarez who could hit 40 HRS . The rotation and bullpen is loaded with power arms and ground ball producers. I really like this team over any in the Central. There are better rotations in the NL but you’d be hard presses to find a better offense,bench or Bullpen.

    • I like your lineup against RHP. I might flip Mercer and Cervelli, but that’s quibbling. But against LHP though I might favor:
      1. Harrison RF
      2. Mercer SS
      3. McCutchen CF
      4. Marte LF
      5. Hart 1B
      6. Kang 3B
      7. Walker 2B
      8. Cervelli C
      9. Cole P

      What do you think?

  • ResistanceIsUseless
    January 9, 2015 5:49 pm

    If you look up Heyman’s actual story, he cites the Post-Gazette as his source. How is this any different than what we learned directly from the PG’s Brink yesterday?

  • Lee Foo Young
    January 9, 2015 4:21 pm

    I think $5 mil a year (assuming that is the value per year) is worth the risk to see what we have in this guy. He could be a total dud, he could be a nice middle infielder addition with a bat similar to Walker’s, or he could end up as a utility infielder.

  • formerdraftpick
    January 9, 2015 4:07 pm

    If Kang signs, wouldn’t he be in the minors to start? If he overproduces, I could see a trade of Walker to the Jays or Yankees mid-season. I’m just glad the Pirates outbid St. Louis on this one.

  • TonyPenaforHOF
    January 9, 2015 2:56 pm

    To me it shows the Pirates are not 100% sold on their infield. Harrision may have caught lightening in a bottle, Pedro is ,well, Pedro Mercer is just solid and Walker has had some injuries and is getting older. Having a 5th infielder who can play all 4 positions just makes sense.

    • I read somewhere today where the Pirates are very concerned about whether they can sign Walker to an extension or not, if they can’t Kang could be very valuable this year if they decide not to wait for Walker’s contract to expire and move him this year.

      • I agree with everything you said this entire thread. Apparently I’m the only one who does.

    • well said….just because he’s asking $5m/yr doesnt mean he gets that. As an agent, you want to start off on the high end i would think. The pirates now this and probably pay him $2-3m/yr. I love j-hay, but im not so sure he can ever be as good as last year.

    • Well said, and particularly as its a 4 year deal. PIT, with Kang, can roll with the current IF and Kang as a solid bench player. Next offseason, another round of seeing what the market return is for Pedro and considering the future of Walker. If Pedro moves on in a trade, Walker slides over and Kang gets a legit shot to start. For a team that loves versatility and options, this move gives them both going forward.

  • I really can not understand why all of the pessimism. All teams make mistakes, but the Pirate drafting and moves have been superior over the last number of years. Sure one can nitpick the moves of any team but to say if a player was good why didn’t the Yankees go after him – the Yankees a team that spend over a half billion dollars last year alone on free agents and yet were and are light years behind the Pirates present and future…………. I really can’t understand why there is not more faith in a management whose drafts and moves have resulted in so much success and have ensured with their farm sysytem a continued success for years to come.

    • the Yankees only go after the good players. That’s why they didn’t pay Russell Martin. This FO has brought more hope for my Pirates since ’92. You people complain when they don’t spend and complain when they do. The Pirates are operating they only way a small market team can. It’s very hard to win it all, and throwing lots of money into the game is not a guaranty of success.

      • Yanks gave up Martin, so one could argue they have actually struggled at times with “going after good players”. Yanks are trying to get younger, but still cant resist themselves at times in signing high priced guys in their mid to late 30s that have some questions (the are on the hook for Ellsbury over the ages of 34-37 at 21 million and he aint the most healthy guy….Beltran on a 3 year deal at his age is dumb for 15 million.) Chase Headley is the type of guys i expect to see NYY go after more, as opposed to options like Beltran.

  • I heard a journalist mention on TV last night that this guy is being brought in here to be a bench player, that is ridiculous, his floor might be that he ends up as a bench player, but he has not shown a floor yet, his ceiling says he will be a SS for Pittsburgh, but he has not show a ceiling yet either. What we do know is he is a good player, we also know he is going to cost around 25mil, that ain’t bench money for the Pirates.

    • Tetrapharmakos
      January 9, 2015 2:49 pm

      I think it is indisputable that he’ll begin as a bench player. He certainly could develop into more, but 5 mil a year is what they are paying Rodriguiez as “bench money,” so I don’t know that the contract would preclude Kang from being a Utility player if performance/opportunity doesn’t demand more of him.

      • I assume you are talking about Sean Rodriguiez. He is making 1.475mil for one year as a bench player.
        Snider is only making 1.2mil.

    • Kang’s floor is he’s completely overmatched by Major League pitching, and becomes a Tabata-like sunk cost.

      His ceiling is that he becomes a competent starting infielder with above average power.

      How he performs will dictate what his role ends up being, not how much he’s getting paid.

      In the MLB-wide scheme of things, $5 million IS bench money. If the Pirates end up getting a 1-WAR per season utility guy out of Kang, then he’s been “worth” the contract. Yes, it would be most optimal for the Pirates not to have to pay market value for guys, but it’s a worthwhile risk for them to take because the probability of them getting a significant amount of surplus value is pretty decent and this isn’t a contract that will hamstring them down the road.

      • 5 mil is bench money for everyone else, not the Pirates, especially since their bench is already set.
        I agree how he performs will dictate what his role is, but how much he is getting paid is dictated by what they think they are getting.
        Starling Marte won’t see 5mil until he gets to 2017 with his new contract and it is 33mil for 6 years and he is no bench player and was never expected to be one, so if 5mil is bench money, the Pirates are not even paying bench money for a star player until 2017.

        • The Pittsburgh Pirates will have a payroll over $95m in 2015.

          Your narrative needs updated.

        • Perhaps the fact that they have some star players locked up for team-friendly prices enables them to take a small chance on a guy like this? How exactly does Marte’s contract have anything to do with Kang’s??

          • I used Marte, because he is a star and he won’t make 5mil until 2017 with his new contract, so why would they pay a player to sit on the bench for 5mil?

            • As much as I like Marte, and as important as I think he will be, he is NOT a ” star ” yet.

              • and kang is a star ?..he is an unproven player..and deserves a 25 mill over 4 yrs (5 posting + salary (4×5) ))?

                • What the ….are you even talking about ? I do know usually you make little sense, but you have out done yourself on this one. Where you thought any one said Kang is a star is beyond me. And I am also amused to see that you are now the go to person to decide what international free agents are worth. Go back to sleep.

              • True, but if Marte continues his 2H2014 performance through the 2015 season people will look back at after the 2014 AllStar game as when he broke out. Perhaps the best description of Marte is “potential star in the making”.

                • That has been my thinking about him since I saw him in AA. And he has not disappointed me. My whole point was that he is not yet considered a star in MLB. It will take him another entire season with numbers like he put up after his return from injury and he will get some traction with the national sports media. And that is hard to do playing along side McCutchen

        • Paulie Corleone
          January 9, 2015 4:00 pm

          What exactly is your complaint here?

          Kang is making too much? Marte is making too little?

          • I did not know I was complaining! I was establishing a point. My point is that to the Pirates 5mil for a bench player is too much (Any Bench Player) and that Marte is not a bench player, he is an established star and he won’t see 5mil until 2017, so why would they pay Kang 5mil if they don’t see him as a valuable player that can start in the majors in 2015? Harrison was a bench player last year at around 500K, Sean Rodriguiez signed for 1.480mil, if he wins his ARB case this year he is expected to top out at around 2mil. Barmes played for 2mil last year, so why pay 5mil for a guy (Kang) to sit on the bench.

            • Just because the Pirates have been very good/lucky at getting solid talent for cheap doesnt mean it forbids them for signing anyone at a certain amount without starting them. Basically, just because they got a great deal with Marte doesnt mean they cant pay Kang 5 million to play the bench. In fact, a solid argument can be made that BECAUSE they have such great deals with Marte and others they can take a 5 million risk for Kang and give him 1 year on the bench since the teams infield is set. We want depth, but heaven forbid they drop 5 million in the bucket for a risky depth move.

            • “Starter” and “Bench Player” are nothing but silos.

              2B, 3B, and SS will combine for roughly 2000 PA over the course of a season. Four players can split the action evenly and still end up with 500 PA each.

              That is absolutely, without a doubt worthy of a $5m commitment.

            • The Pirates will be paying Corey Hart at least $2.5m to be a short-side 1B platoon.

              No logic what-so-ever dictates that kind of spending is fine, but paying a guy who can play the skill positions of the infield $5m means he must be a starter in order to get your moneys worth.

              • And the Marte comparison is specious, Marte signed a long term extension with less than two years of service time, Kang is effectively a free agent, different markets.

              • I liked the Heart signing ..as i have no FAITH in KDRO..

            • Pirates had ~500 ABs from mid-game substitutions alone last year. They had over a full season worth of starts from bench players last year. The bench is like a guy with 1000 ABs that plays 8 positions. The price right now for that bench is around $13 million, or the cost of about 2.5 wins. That’s not too much. Improving from the bottom “might” be an new trend market efficiency, particularly for NL teams.

      • Lee Foo Young
        January 9, 2015 4:18 pm

        WPH…your first two sentences pretty much sum up this whole signing. As of now, we have little idea what we’re gonna get, but I am glad we’re taking the risk.

      • If $5MM is bench money, and all 25 men on the roster were “bench players” the total payroll would be $125MM which is well beyond the Pirates and probably most MLB teams ability to pay. So we can conclude that the Pirates expect Kang to be more than a bench player over the course of his contract.

        • Or that thanks to having a team that is largely getting paid less than the value they bring, they can take a chance for 5 million over 4 years on a guy like this and not really “expect” anything. They saw some talent, had a roster spot to potentially fill and are getting Harrison, Mercer, Polanco, and Cole cheap along with favorable deals from Cutch and Marte and AJ. Yeah, PIT cant pay each bench player 5 million. But they can pay a few guys that thanks to solid FO work. Its also very clear why 5 million is bench money, since 1 WAR is worth roughly 6 million and .5 WAR puts most guys on the bench.

          • Exactly. No idea where that logic comes from piraddict.

            • Here’s the logic. At a total payroll of $95MM the Pirates average salary is $3.8 MM, so Kang will be well above that as a free agent signing.The Pirates, as all MLB teams do, have a spectrum of high priced stars to league minimum younger players on the roster. As players age and move up the arbitration ladder the Pirates weed out players who project to be average or below starters or bench players before they reach a salary of about the team average of $3.8MM or so. A recent example would be Garrett Jones, while Travis Snyder will be threatened by this probably next year. The Pirates are bringing Kang in, as a free agent signing, at a salary level that is above the “arbitration weed out level” ergo they expect him to be more than an average or below starter, or bench level player.

              • The Pittsburgh Pirates will roster a $95m this season. Update your narrative accordingly.

                • You comment makes no sense as I used the $95 million dollar figure in my original comment.

          • “since 1 WAR is worth roughly 6 million and .5 WAR puts most guys on the bench.” So by your numbers a bench player is worth 0.5 WAR, and each WAR is worth $6MM, so a bench player is “worth” $3MM and de facto Kang, at $5MM, is not a bench player.

            • Josh Harrison was a 5 WAR player last year, and with regression 2-3 WAR isnt unlikely.

              Jordy Mercer has been consistently 1.5-2.0 type WAR over his last two years, so repeat of that isnt unlikely and his defense as is is better than Kang.

              Neil Walker is a 2-3 WAR player.

              So while a 1 WAR player may see the field on a good deal of teams, it wont in this infield, where even Pedro has seen 2 WAR on years he gets full playing time. Kang can easily be a 1 WAR player, be worth the investment and still be bench worthy. 5 million is not a crazy number for a bench player, as it means the level of performance doesnt have to be high to get value. More than a few guys that earned 1 WAR last year saw offensive numbers like .240-.265 avg, .310-.330 OBP, etc. Average players are 1 WAR types, and average doesnt start over our IFers.

              • I’d be careful about saying things like Mercer’s defense is better than Kang’s.

                Assuming you’re not putting your own scouting grades on both of their skills and analyzing from there, the same folks who are saying Kang won’t stick at short were saying Mercer wasn’t likely a big league shortstop two years ago as well.

                • Right now, Mercer’s defense is at very least more proven at SS than Kang. The biggest issue with Kang is his reported not great range along with booting routine plays more than he should. Even if you assume scouts being wrong about Mercer mean they are likely to be wrong about Kang, Mercer is set at that spot on defense and it’d take Kang being plus on defense to move him.

              • I agree with most of what you have said above. To build upon it, it will be great to have 5 potential starters vying for 4 positions. It’s possible that the lack of serious competition for playing time hurt Pedro’s competitive fire, and subsequent performance. I am okay with the best four of the five playing the most, regardless of how the rating process works out. How Kang translates his performance from Korea to MLB, whether as a 1 WARor less or as a 3 WAR or more or in between, is completely unknown, but we’ll know a lot more in six months. I am perfectly willing to wait and see what type of Kang shows up. But if the Pirates are paying Kang $5MM as rumored I think it likely that they are expecting more from him than from say Sean Rodriguez.

    • None of this is backed by any scouting report. Even scouts that love his bat are somewhat unsure he can stick at SS in the majors and suggest 2B or 3B. We dont even know he is a “good” player at the ML level. When you read all the reports you can get on him, and take the average of what you read you see a guy that like “likely” to be a .240-.260 hitter with decent pop at 2B or 3B. That doesnt beat out our current 3B, SS, or 2Bmen and its a great thing. His floor is being unable to adjust to much better opposition, and many scouts agree he is a seriously tough player to determine if he is closer to floor or ceiling. Its also getting mind numbingly stupid for people to say 25 million is too much to pay a bench player, because its Fox News presentation of his salary. 5 million over 4 years isnt too much to pay a bench player, 5 million is what they paid Barmes. He gets 4 years because of the ceiling and the fact that 5 million per year even if he tanks isnt team destroying.

      • you seem to not “read it right”..he will cost us 5 mill posting fee..and whatever we agree to pay him …so if we agree on 5 yrs and 20 mill the total will be 25 mill or 25/4 or 6.25 mill per yr…he would have to ave a 2 war for the bucs to come ahead on this deal..otherwise a waste of $..

        • No, 6 million isnt 2 WAR. 6 million is 1 WAR. Even with slight variation from the few that do the calculations to try and determine WAR/$, its between 5.5 and 6.5 WAR per dollar. So even if you follow your numbers, Kang at 1 WAR while getting 6.25 per year is roughly even value. If looking at it as purely WAR value into how much he should earn, If Kang is a 1 WAR player his value is between 5-7 million.

          For the Pirates to “come ahead” he would have to be above a 1 WAR player a few times during the deal. But its key to note, 5 million really isnt the type of investment that, if the return is poor, seriously hurts the team. He could only be a 1.5-2.0 WAR player once in the deal and PIT likely doesnt mind that. Its the Jose Tabata sized risk, plus about a million. PIT paid the 5 million posting fee because the overall risk is low and the reward can be huge.

  • What’s his projected position anyway? Sounds like he’ll move from SS? I’m sure this has been covered. I’m trying to play catch up here.

  • Sorry, but I am a little cautious with this….

    For some reason, I think if he was such a can’t
    miss then why were the Yankees, Dodgers or Sox
    not seriously interested?

    • That’s the thing. I don’t think he’s considered a “can’t miss”. Seems to me like he’s a strong utility infielder with some pop. Is that worth $5 million a year? It does seem somewhat steep.

      • They paid Barmes 5 million to be a glove only backup a few years ago. 5 million isnt really all that steep to pay a bench player, so long as you arent paying each bench player that and there is reason to think he brings solid value for the money. If you agree with most than 1 WAR= 6 or 7 million, all Kang has to do is be near 1 WAR to be worth the price tag.

        • Barmes was paid that money as the starting SS though right? Don’t get me wrong, I like the move if/when it comes. I think he finds his way onto the field for 300 AB’s. He could provide very good insurance.

          • He split time with Mercer in 2013 while making 5 million, and as the season progressed his playing time decreased as it became clear Mercer was solid. That, along with the payroll at this point of the offseason, shows PIT isnt really afraid to pay 5 million for a bench player if they feel its a good fit. Good insurance this year, great versatility with their IFers next year and next offseason.

            • I was not ramping up to anything, Barmes in 2013 was paid to be the starting SS, he played 106 games, Mercer as a backup made 497,000 dollars. In case you did not read correctly, my entire discussion was about bench players and that IMO, Kang was not going to be paid 5mil to be a bench player, that does not mean he can’t fail, anyone can, but I do not believe the Pirates think of him as a bench signing. You may not like my opinion and that is fine, but trying to belittle someone IMO was not necessary and I won’t forget it, Don’t you think it would have been simple to just say I don’t agree with you, instead of using facts that were so poor and incorrect, to do what?

              • Are we a little touchy today ?

              • I didnt belittle you, i said you were ramping up to a specific argument. If you found that insulting, you read something into it that wasnt. You have said i used false facts, which is debatable. Barmes was a part time player (which i said already) and getting paid 5 million. Kang would be at best a part time player, and getting paid 5 million. If he played less than 103 games, consider it inflation and taking a chance on the higher upside of Kang over Barmes.

                Barmes on a 2 year deal worth 5 per year and Kang on a 4 year deal worth 5 per year are similar, the team simply is different. PIT wont start Kang because of what he makes, so logically they see him as a bench player or AAA depth.

              • Salaries are a little higher now than they were 3 years ago and the Pirates are better also so 5 mil for what you think is a top bench player and possibly more is not unreasonable for a team that plans to make the playoffs.

          • I’m pretty sure the consensus is that Kang will be a better hitter than Barmes at the big leagues. Even if he doesn’t hit his biggest upside. The highest upside he could reach in my opinion is about .290/340 with 25 Hrs. around what Walkers upside is. However, I do not expect him to reach that. My prediction is (if he is an everyday starter) .265 10-15 Hrs . Below average defense at SS and probably average anywhere else. . I’d take a .265 hitter off the bench though. Add him to the bench with the likes of Snider,Corey Hart,and Sean Rodriguez (if they all stay healthy) and the Pirates have one of the best offenses let alone benches in baseball.

        • Barmes was paid 2mil, I have not found a 5mil figure anywhere, possibly you could tell me where you got that figure.

            • He is ramping up to the “that wasnt a bench player” argument which isnt worth the effort.

          • Go look up what Barmes made in 2013. He was not the starter, he split time with Mercer. So if a few years ago we were willing to give a half time player 5 million, why is it crazy to think we wouldnt give 5 million to a bench player 2 years later? This whole “the team doesnt pay for” crap is beyond laughable because we have a payroll near 100 million right now. 5 million is pretty normal, and we have given 5 million to part time players before that were older and less effective than Kang.

          • his first contract not last years 1 year deal

    • they’re taking a Jose-Tabata-sized risk on him. there’s like an 85% shot that he is gonna just be a .700 OPS utility guy, and therefore, the contract will be a little bit of an overpay. But it’s still a useful player.

      But there’s a 15% shot he’s more than that!

      it’s a little odd that Kang is the 2nd biggest FA signing the team has ever made when you consider the likely outcomes, but it really isn’t that big of a risk.

      • Tabata sized risk. Nicely put. Very appropriate.

        • i stole that from an article haha. I think it was on fangraphs.

          But it’s right! it’s risky, but not thaaaat risky.

        • Not so much. Kang exhibits genuine power. Tabata never has.

          • He was referring to the financial commitment.

            • Value is a function both of what you pay and what you get. Even if the money were comparable the potential production of the player is not. Kang is a much more valuable sign than Tabata because of the power production and defensive flexibility.

              • Well, actually that isnt true at the time of each signing. Remember that when we inked the deal with Tabata he looked like a very good RFer with decent pop. Kang right now looks like a potentially good 3Bmen/SS with decent pop. There was in fact more known with Tabata when we gave him his deal than we have with Kang. Tabata could also play LF back then, so some versatility was there. At the time, Tabata was very comparable to Kang and much more proven.

                • Well said.

                  Quite a bit of revisionist history by piraddict. Tabata signed his extension coming of his 21 yo season in which he was a 2-win player who stole 19 bases and hit 6% above league average in his very first big league audition. No question that at that point, he profiled as at least a league-average regular. The same simply cannot be said for Kang.

                  • *Insert joke about Tabata’s age here*

                  • That same rookie year, 2010, his ISO was .101 followed by:
                    2011 .094
                    2012 .105
                    2013 .147
                    2014 .051
                    Those aren’t the statistics of a MLB corner outfielder, and the evidence for that was present in his first year and his minor league career as well. Tabata did provide some needed fill in work in 2H2013 when Marte was injured and his contribution helped the Pirates to their 2013 playoff berth. But I don’t agree that he profiled for a MLB corner outfield position, whereas Kang can be projected for any of three or possibly 4 infield positions depending on how his bat plays out, which you you are right, won’t be known for a year or two.

                    • That’s an incredibly antiquated line of thinking.

                      Nick Markakis has posted Isolated Slugging percentages of .085 and .111 the last two years, and just signed a $44m contract.

                    • Markakis’s career MLB ISO is .145 over nine full seasons, six of which had OPS of .799 or better. Whereas,Tabata’s career ISO is .104 over five partial seasons. Comparing the two to make a point doesn’t seem valid. But it seems like Baltimore is gambling on a return to past glory.

                      The corner outfield positions, as well as the corner infield positions, is traditionally where teams expect power to come from. Hard to see how that thinking is now “antiquated”.

                • We’ll just have to disagree on that. I was extremely disappointed when they extended Tabata. I thought it would be a waste of money, as it has proven to be. Two issues bothered me. First, I was skeptical he would ever develop power based on his swing. Second, he seemed to have decision making issues, whether in his personal life, or just staying in shape that would interfere with his baseball productivity. In his defense he does place his bat on the ball regularly and has an okay OBP. If he could play CF (he no longer has the speed to do it) his bat would play there. But we are set in CF, so he is not an option for the Pirates. Kang I am excited about, primarily as a 3Bman, or backup SS as you suggest, or at 2B (or even 1B as well depending on whether his power translates well to MLB). Seems like he’ll have at least “Walker like” power, and there are no known character issues so I see Kang as a much better option than Tabata. You are right though that much more is known about Tabata than Kang.

                  • My goodness…you really expect any of us to believe you were this ray of truth when the baseball world universally lauded the extension at the time?

                    • Yes. But frankly I don’t care if you believe it or not. You seem to have a penchant for belittling other folks. It doesn’t speak well for you as a person.

                    • And what exactly do you believe we think of you for boasting about how smart you were in regards to Tabata? Just another guy who doesn’t look both ways.

                    • Well, I wasn’t boasting about anything when I stated what I thought about the Tabata extension at the time. I was simply making a true statement in the context of differentiating between the Tabata and the Kang contracts. You for your own reasons took the comment entirely the wrong way. But again, what you think isn’t important. The way that you treat others, not just me but everyone whose thinking you disagree with, dictates that your opinion isn’t worthy of consideration. I do note that you use the word “we” rather cavalierly. I think you are speaking for yourself, and not very articulately at that.

      • Tabata has $15 million guaranteed over 5 years, when the free agent price of a win was around $4.5 million. If the Pirates cannot take $20 million risk over four years, they need to fold up shop, like you say below not much a risk.

    • For the same reason the Yankees and Red Sox didn’t sign Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig, or Jose Abreu.

    • Ian Rothermund
      January 11, 2015 10:28 am

      What have the Yankees actually done to commit to being a winning franchise next year?

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