Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang will almost surely miss all of the 2017 MLB campaign after failing to secure a visa following a DUI conviction, his third, last offseason. But the Pirates are hopeful that they can get Kang on the field this winter. Earlier this week, GrandesenlosDeportes in the Dominican Republic tweeted that Kang would be joining Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League. Pirates GM Neal Huntington has confirmed the Bucs’ plans, as Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes. “We know we have a club that will play him, provided we can get him into the (Dominican Republic),” Huntington says. “In our minds, this is the best level of competition we could get him in the offseason.” The Pirates still have Kang under contract for 2018, with a club option for 2019. He’s currently on the restricted list, which means he hasn’t collected any salary for the year. The Pirates recently acquired Sean Rodriguez from Atlanta as an insurance policy for next season, in case Kang is unable to return. Here’s more from the NL Central.
- The Cardinals feel they suddenly have a “traffic jam” of outfield talent, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Tommy Pham has had a terrific season in the Majors, with Harrison Bader playing well in Triple-A Memphis and Oscar Mercado having a mini-breakout (driven in part by his impressive defense) at Double-A Springfield. The team also has Dexter Fowler, Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty in the big leagues, plus a number of other interesting prospects (including Tyler O’Neill, Jose Adolis Garcia, Magneuris Sierra and Randy Arozarena) in the high minors. That means various Cardinals outfielders could become trade bait this winter — not only because the team has assets to spend, but because there might simply not be enough opportunities for all of them, particularly since all of the outfielders mentioned above except Fowler and Pham are young. “We’re not going to have enough room at the inn,” says Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. “That is something we, as an organization, are going to have to take a very hard look at this offseason and decide what makes the most sense.”
- Ryan Braun remains as the last key veteran from the Brewers’ 2014 club who’s still with the team as it makes another run at contention in 2017, and he’s happy to still be in Milwaukee, he tells MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby. Rumors about being traded to the Dodgers last winter makes Braun feel especially grateful, he says. “Last year, obviously, I was close to getting traded,” says Braun. “When it didn’t happen, obviously, it makes me that much more appreciative of however much time I do end up spending here.” Braun adds that it isn’t lost on him that after him, the position player who has been with the Brewers the longest is Domingo Santana, who first suited up with Milwaukee a little over two years ago this week.