MLB free agency rumors: Pirates decline options for Josh Harrison, Jung Ho Kang

The Pirates have reportedly declined to pick up the options for infielders Josh Harrison and Jung Ho Kang, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, making both players free agents.

Neither move is a surprise. Harrison, a two-time All-Star at second, had requested before last season that the Pirates trade him if the club was not trying to field a contender. Injuries limited him to 97 games, and he hit .250 with eight home runs. It would have cost the Bucs $10.5 million to keep him for 2019. They will owe him a $1 million buyout for declining the option.

The club gave 26-year-old Adam Frazier an extended look at second base last year with Harrison sidelined, and he responded with 10 home runs and a .798 OPS in 113 games.

As for Kang, the former Korean baseball star hasn’t been a part of the club’s plans in a while. He missed the entire 2017 season because he was unable to obtain a visa to return from South Korea after being arrested for his third DUI there. After obtaining a visa earlier this year, he played in Pittsburgh’s minor league system, was injured, and played three games for the Pirates at the end of the season.

Read This

David Price says he’s staying with Red Sox, won’t opt out of contract

MLB free agent rumors: Nationals near deal with reliever Trevor Rosenthal

But the 31-year-old third baseman does swing a big bat, with 36 home runs and a .837 OPS in 745 MLB at-bats. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington hinted late in the season that the Pirates might try to re-sign Kang at a lower price.

“If we don’t (pick up the option), we’d have significant interest in seeing if there’s a middle ground where it makes sense to have him come back,” Huntington told the Post-Gazette. “And if Kang plays the way Kang is capable, he has everyday opportunity here and he may just beat out Colin (Moran).”

Source: Read Full Article