Pirates Make the Jung Ho Kang Signing Official

The Pittsburgh Pirates have officially announced that they have signed infielder Jung Ho Kang to a four year deal with a club option for the 2019 season. No terms were announced, and no corresponding move has been announced yet. The reported terms on this deal were $16 M total. I’m sure the details will come out at some point soon.

UPDATE 11:10 AM: Jon Heyman says it is believed to be worth $11 M plus.

That’s a bit less than the previously reported amount, by about a million per year.

UPDATE 11:16 AM: Neal Huntington had the following to say in the press release about Kang.

“We appreciate and respect Kang’s accomplishments in Korea and look forward to helping him positively impact our Major League team,” said Huntington. “He will complement our existing club with his offensive ability and defensive versatility.  Our focus at the present time is helping him transition to the United States and to the Major Leagues.  Our ability to help him with this transition will be key for him to reach his potential as a Major League Player.”

The “complement our existing club” part sounds a lot like Kang will be a utility player at first. Huntington will be conferencing with the media at 11:45 AM.

UPDATE 11:34 AM: Heyman says it’s $11 M over four years. It seems that the previous number included the posting fee of $5 M. So the Pirates would be paying about $16 M total for Kang.

UPDATE 11:39 AM: Tom Singer says the option in 2019 is worth $5.5 M, with a $1 M buyout.

This means that Kang is getting paid an average of $2.5 M per year over his four-year deal, not counting the posting fee. It also puts the max value of the deal at $15.5 M over five years.

UPDATE 1:40 PM: Rob Biertempfel says that the option buyout is $250,000. Either way, the Pirates will be paying $11 M.

UPDATE 1:50 PM: Heyman confirms the buyout price.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Zero intent to send Kang to minors is interesting, Pirates scouts and projections must think very highly of him.


Agreed, although if I’m really trying to read into the statement above, I could see Huntington leaving room for interpretation by specifically saying “at the present time” and using “transition” twice.


Welcome King Kang


From Keith Law’s chat yesterday…

Ethan (Altoona)

You seemed high on Kang in your Top F/A List. Are you going to write anything up after the signing is official? Good move by the Bucs?

Klaw (1:33 PM)

I’m not going to write it up because I’m writing up the top 100. I thought it was an excellent move.


I originally thought the 16 Million was going to be for 4 years. It seems Kang settled for a lot less than what they were saying he wanted.


I don’t think he had that much leverage. He wants to play in the MLB and he’s still getting twice the salary he’d get in the KBO.


Looks like Huntington read the market perfectly.


Should be an interesting year on the North Side. I hope Korea’s entry to the 2015 LLWS has a nice visit to PNC Park with their national sports hero.


Good to get the signing over with.


So glad he’s wearing #27 ! I’ll be having my Karstens jersey altered this week 😉

William Wallace

Not to change the topic but I always thought Jeff Karstens was a class guy. The times I have run into him he was always kind and considerate and spent time talking about his rehab. I believe he is out of baseball.


That’s a shame. Is he out completely? Another team should give him a chance.


I wish the Pirates would employ him as a pitching coach teaching his approach to pitching to Cole and others throughout the system. I loved his mental approach. When uninjured he worked fast, changed speeds, threw strikes better than most everyone. Too bad he was frail and injury prone.


Head on dahn to Pittsburgh Jersey Kings ‘n at. They’ll hook you right up.

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