TODAY: The Pirates have released Kang, John Dreker of Pirates Prospects tweets.
FRIDAY: The Pirates have designated infielder Jung Ho Kang for assignment, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on Twitter. Erik Gonzalez and Pablo Reyes are coming onto the active roster, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic tweets.
It has been a forgettable season for Kang, who re-signed with the Bucs for $3MM after sitting out virtually all of the prior two campaigns. He had only himself to blame for the absence and lost earnings, as it resulted from his history of multiple instances of being caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
Kang has by all accounts carried himself in a more responsible manner off the field since returning to the Pittsburgh organization. But he has not returned to his days of high-quality offensive production at the plate.
Through 185 plate appearances in 2019, Kang carries a meager .169/.222/.395 batting line with ten home runs but also a whopping sixty strikeouts and only eleven walks. That’s a surprising turn for a player who carried a 21.4% strikeout rate and 9.7% walk rate in his most recent full season in the majors.
It remains to be seen how Kang’s career will progress from this point. The 32-year-old’s power is still intact, so he could be given a shot with another MLB outfit (likely on a minors deal). It seems plausible to imagine also that he could elect to go back to his native Korea or another Asian league if the opportunities here are not satisfactory.