2:15pm: Pirates president Frank Coonelly has issued a statement in response to the report:
“A Korean news outlet has reported on a purported development in Jung Ho Kang’s effort to secure permission to travel to the United States for purposes of continuing his career as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and added speculation regarding a driving incident in a “third country.”
The facts, as we know them, are that Kang still has not been granted permission to travel to the United States under a work visa. We continue to work with Kang and his representatives to present materials and information to the appropriate parties in the United States government that we believe establish that Kang should be permitted to travel to the United States under a work visa and we remain hopeful that such a resolution will be reached in the near future.
We have no indication that Jung Ho has had a driving incident in a country other than Korea.”
10:49am: Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang’s status for 2017 remains in question as a result of his December arrest in South Korea on charges of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. Kang, who admitted guilt in February, earned a suspended eight-month prison sentence March 3 and has been waiting since then to obtain a visa to return to the United States.
According to a report from Naver Sports in Korea, Kang’s visa application has been denied. Further, Kang is “suspected” of drunken driving in a third country (not Korea or the U.S.). If true, that would put Kang’s chances of playing this season in jeopardy, though the 29-year-old has appealed his sentence in hopes of receiving lesser punishment and making it easier to obtain a visa. A decision on that appeal will likely come in the next few weeks, according to The Korea Times (via Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). The Pirates, like Kang, are awaiting an answer on the player’s fate; as a result, they’re unsure whether they’ll receive any contributions from Kang this year.
“Your information is about the same as what I’ve got,” manager Clint Hurdle told MLB Network Radio on Friday. “We are staying in contact with Jung Ho and in contract with his interpreter. We’re focusing on the men we have here. That’s the best I can tell you. We’d love to have him back (but) we don’t have him back. We’re going to adapt and continue to pull … (and see) if this can come to some type of conclusion that’s profitable for both sides down the road.”
While Kang has a history of off-field troubles, including three DUI convictions in Korea and an ongoing investigation stemming from an alleged sexual assault in Chicago last July, his absence would be difficult for the Pirates to deal with on the field. The Bucs do have a quality fallback option at third base in David Freese, but his production hasn’t approached Kang’s dating back to the latter’s emigration from the Korea Baseball Organization in 2015. Kang has been a bargain since joining the Pirates on a four-year deal worth a guaranteed $11MM, having slashed .273/.355/.483 with 36 home runs in 837 plate appearances.
Because the Pirates placed Kang on the restricted list earlier this month, he won’t collect any of his salary for missed regular-season time, nor will he occupy a spot on their 40-man roster.
As a Pirates fan, I hope he stays in Korea this year and gets his life back in order and comes to play in 2018. Sad.
How does this affect the Pirates’ payroll? Seeing as this isn’t an MLB suspension, they would still be on the hook for his entire salary, correct?
He’s on the restricted list – he doesn’t get paid.
I guess I didn’t realize they already put him on the restricted list. Thanks.
I just added clarification on that at the end (thanks for the reminder). He’s on the Pirates’ restricted list and will go without pay until he comes off it.
thanks Connor. Does this also mean his time on the list suspends his contract?
Meaning if he misses this season, he doesn’t hit his option years until 2020 instead of 2019 (i think)? or does it just mean he misses this season’s salary and when he comes back the contract continues like he was available?
I’m not sure that makes sense how i asked.
I looked around for info on the restricted list and didnt find anything about how it affects a contract.
Players on RL
Dont have to be paid (its optional, i’m sure no team would pay him bc of how he got on the list)
Do not accrue service time(with a couple exceptions that wont affect Kang)
Players on the restriced list for reasons other than not reporting back after bereavement leave/suspension cant be reinstated from RL Aug 1 though Oct 31( I’m guessing some team tried to use the RL to ‘stash’ a player sometime back in the day)
I’m guessing if he misses the whole season and gets a visa for next year, his contract gets pushed back a year. If he comes back mid season, contract the same minus the lost $$$.
Obviously, that Aug 1 deadline shortens his window.
Well this is what you get for DUIs and assault
And how is that investigation for assault coming along. Last I heard they couldn’t find his accuser or she didn’t want to cooperate. Sounds like a money grab to me.
Not cooperating doesn’t automatically mean the victim is lying. Many women who are assaulted are uncooperative for one reason or another. Also his disregard for laws and repeated offenses make him out to be a person who believes they’re above the law. Not a recipe for innocence. Good riddance to him and the Pirates are sending the wrong message by thinking he deserves to be met into our country.
I agree, Phil. He probably paid her off. If that had happened in Korea he’d be in jail where he belongs. But, athletes can buy their way out of anything in this country
And to think I was pissed when Sandy didnt go after him. Glad he didnt
Yeah because Jose Reyes is a real stand up guy
But he doesnt drive drunk and kill innocent people. The only person he was abusive to was his wife. Not to excuse but drinking recklessly and the driving is tantamount to attempted murder in my book. You sound like a Primo Knucklehead..
Kang is a murderer? Wow, where was this headline?
If drinking and driving is tantamount to attempted murder, then texting and driving, talking to a passenger and driving, and oogling joggers’ butts and driving are all tantamount to murder… and I guess it follows to say that makes repeated occurrences tantamount to attempted genocide.
Is this really your argument – “Jose Reyes just assaulted his wife.”? My god, what world are we living in..
Reading comprehension is not your strongest skill.
Wow, you too are an ignoramous. Drunk driving is an open invite to murdering people. Ask the people who have lost loved ones to drunk driving what they think. Obviously the law thinks it is quite dangerous also.
Moore women are killed in this country at the hands of an abusive partner than are killed by a drunk driver. Both are lousy crimes but lets not pretend beating your wife is just some kind of accident.
So Kang COULD have caused harm to someone, and Reyes DID cause harm to someone…so that makes Kang the worse offender? Okay pal. *eyeroll*
Does that logic work both ways?
No Reyes could have/ maybe will beat someone to death.
same thing right?
By drinking and driving, Kang’s actions represent a conscious disregard of a substantial, unjustifiable risk. He might not have actually killed anybody, but given the right circumstances, what he did could have easily led to the death or serious injury of another person.
Reyes could have easily killed his wife. He’s a professional athlete, presumably strong. He left marks on her neck where he tried to strangle her and other marks on her body as well. Because she dropped the charges doesn’t mean anything; sadly, it’s a major flaw in the criminal justice system w/r/t domestic abuse. Many many women either never report the abuse, or refuse to testify. Many of those women end up being beaten again or, eventually, killed.
This isn’t an apology for drunk driving, but this absurd defense of Jose Reyes’ behavior (“all he did was beat up a woman who was much smaller than him”) is beyond the pale.
Is it really an “ongoing” investigation so much as an unresolved investigation?
The former implies there are Chicago PD who go to work each day and are still investigating a case that can’t have too many stones to turn over.
Either way…good thing they signed David Freese last year and then to an extension. Great presence.
But, the Bucs have nothing approaching a cleanup hitter on this team.
Chicago PD investigators=oxymoron
Could sure use his power bat in a mediocre power kinda lineup already.
They won 78 games last year, and this lineup is basically the same minus Kang. The small window of success they had has closed already.
The lineup scored more runs last year than they did in making the playoffs the year before.
the problem wasn’t so much their offense, it was their defense an pitching that really hurt them… going a few steps further
2014 0.96 Homeruns per game 153 total
2015 0.86 Homeruns per game 140 total
2016 0.94 Homeruns per game 153 total
Sure someone will need to step up, not having Kangs bat in the line up is kinda a big deal. but they are still a realistic play off contender with out him.
It is nice to see accountability. In the U.S. if you are an athlete and break the law you get a free pass.
Dookie Howser, MD
He basically did get a free pass. A suspended sentence for a third offense, isn’t exactly throwing the book at him. The only thing keeping him out of the US and playing is his visa issue.
How does this affect his contract status? Does being on the restricted list burn a year of his contract or is it postponed. I don’t know how the MLB does this, but in the NFL Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon still owe their respective teams playing time because they’re on the restricted list.
Technically they don’t owe there teams playing time. There teams own the rights to keep them if they r cleared to play again. (Which in blackmons case won’t happen and in Gordon’s case might still not happen). But the restricted list in the MLB that’s a good question. Does the team still technically own there rights unless another team claims them?
This guy needs to grow up. If not playing baseball for a year is the wake-up-call that might get his attention, so be it. Make better choices, JHK.
Off top of my head Gyorko or Peralta could be available in STL and Candelario is a guy that could be available in an Andrew McCutchen trade (lets be real Schwarber is the only sure thing in that outfield)…. BUT both of those teams are in same division as Pirates so I don’t see it happening.
Could probably go Adam Frazier/David Freese platoon for the time being and get decent-ish results.. Moustakas will likely be available by trade deadline, Todd Frazier as well.
Todd Frazier would be a great addition. The Bucs need some power. I wonder what it would take to get him. Highly doubtful that it happens though. His contract is way too much for the cheap Pirates to pay.
In other news the Ray signed Norris
This guy should get dropped and go back to Korea
I’m surprised Jung Ho Kang was even granted a working VISA.
I just went through the whole immigration-VISA process myself. To get a VISA, it requires a criminal background check. USCIS doesn’t allow VISAs for people “involved in violent crimes, sex crimes, crimes against children, drug trafficking and individuals with known links to terrorism…” In addition, “USCIS adopted background security check procedures that address a wide range of possible risk factors…” Some misdemeanors and a person with multiple misdemeanors may be disqualified. I would assume that multiple DUIs would disqualify a non USA citizen from gaining access to the USA.
Yeah, and I’ve heard that people with even a single DUI in the states can’t get into Canada – they’re very strict about that. (You can google it). I don’t know how a guy like Miguel Cabrera gets around it when the Tigers play in Toronto, for example. The only thing I can guess with Kang is that because the standards for DUI are so low in Korea (something like a .03 BAC, which wouldn’t get you arrested in the US), there’s some leeway. But that’s just a guess.
I think the bucs should cut ties with him at some point. move on. the honeymoon is over with jung ho. it was nice while it lasted. Keep him and there’s too much baggage and too much risk….