Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

$5M Gets Rights to Korean Shortstop Club Has 30 Days to Negotiate a Deal

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

$5M Gets Rights to Korean Shortstop Club Has 30 Days to Negotiate a Deal

Article excerpt

In an unprecedented foray into the international talent pool, the Pirates on Monday won exclusive negotiating rights with Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang by making the highest bid in the posting process.

The bid, interesting because of the position Kang plays and the monetary commitment required to make it, granted the Pirates a 30- day window to come to an agreement with Kang. The successful bid for Kang is believed to be the first time the Pirates have won negotiating rights during the 16-year history of the posting process.

The Pirates bid $5,002,015, the Nexen Heroes -- Kang's club in the Korea Baseball Organization -- told the Yonhap News Agency in an English-language article published Saturday. Nexen accepted the bid. Under the international posting system, Nexen receives the posting fee if Kang signs within 30 days. If the sides do not reach a deal, the Pirates don't pay the fee.

"The Pirates are pleased to have secured the opportunity to attempt to add [Kang] to our system and look forward to commencing discussions with the [p]layer and his representative in an effort to make that happen," general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement.

With the bid, the Pirates signaled an ability to spend more than previously thought and have the chance to create flexibility in their infield. Neil Walker, Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison are relatively proven players at second base, shortstop and third base, but signing Kang would provide depth and options.

Kang, 27, hit .356 with a .459 on-base percentage and 40 home runs in 117 games for the Heroes this season. A right-handed batter, he has hit at least 22 home runs in each of the past three seasons and batted better than .300 in three of the past five years.

"If he were Cuban, he'd get $100 million," Kang's agent, Alan Nero, told the New York Post in November.

Those impressive offensive numbers came against the lower-level competition of the KBO. The league average was .289 with a .365 on- base percentage and a .443 slugging percentage in 2014, compared to Major League Baseball's 2014 marks of .251, .314 and .386.

Nero is reportedly seeking a multiyear contract worth $4 million to $6 million per season. …

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