The Pirates will be faced with a decision on Jung Ho Kang’s 2019 option this offseason, but GM Neal Huntington tells Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic that Kang’s performance in this weekend series won’t have an impact on the outcome (subscription required). “Truth be told, there’s not going to be a whole lot of value in the evaluation process of a one-game or a one-plus-game look,” said Huntington. Biertempfel notes, though, that the late promotion could earn a bit of good will with Kang’s camp in the event that the team elects to buy out his $5.5MM option and try to bring him back into the fold for a few million less than that. There’s been no indication one way or another as to how the Pirates plan on proceeding, though the very fact that he was brought up to the Majors at all indicates that they’re not totally closed off to the possibility of continuing the relationship in spite of Kang’s legal troubles over the past few seasons.
Here’s more from the National League…
- Padres right-hander Brett Kennedy underwent knee surgery that will sideline him for the first six weeks of the offseason, tweets AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. However, Kennedy is still expected to be able to have a largely normal offseason program, and the operation isn’t expected to impact his availability for the 2019 campaign. Kennedy, 24, didn’t impress in six starts with the Friars this season, working to a 6.75 ERA in 26 2/3 innings. However, the 2015 11th-rounder fired off 89 1/3 innings of 2.72 ERA ball with 8.1 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 52.6 percent ground-ball rate in an extremely hitter-friendly setting with the Padres’ El Paso affiliate in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He posted solid numbers at Double-A in 2017 and at Class-A Advanced in 2016, and with multiple minor league options remaining beyond 2018, he’ll have ample opportunity to cement himself as part of the San Diego pitching staff in come capacity over the next few seasons.
- The Giants’ search for a new general manager and/or president of baseball operations isn’t expected to be a quick one, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The process could take several weeks as Giants leadership interviews a wide range of candidates with varying backgrounds. Notably, Schulman adds that the Giants aren’t set on hiring any one specific type of executive (e.g. analytically inclined, traditional scouting background, etc.) and seem to be embarking on this process with an open-minded approach.
- With the Cardinals on the brink of elimination, Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes the uncertain future of Adam Wainwright, who may have made his final start yesterday for the only MLB team he’s ever known. Wainwright’s a free agent at season’s end, and while he spent most of the season sidelined by elbow soreness, he’s rebounded in September to pitch admirably for St. Louis. His 4.84 ERA across his past four starts may not look pretty, but his 3.20 FIP and stunning 6.25 K/BB ratio points to a much more effective pitcher than the version of Wainwright the world had seen across the rest of the past three seasons. Teammate Yadier Molina, for what it’s worth, doesn’t seem to think it’s the last time the two will be batterymates, saying he’s “confident” about that. “It may have been,” Wainwright himself said. “It doesn’t feel like it is. For whatever reason. I haven’t had those emotions. The way I’m feeling now, if that is my last start here it would be kind of hard to walk away knowing the way I’m feeling right now.”