The Pirates have reportedly agreed to terms with Korean infielder Jung-ho Kang on a four-year deal that is worth about $16MM and contains a fifth-year option, but that’s not the only chatter coming out of Pittsburgh today. Here’s the latest on the Buccos…
- Former big league infielder Jamey Carroll has joined the Pirates’ front office and will serve as a special assistant to the baseball operations staff, the team announced earlier today. Carroll, 40, last appeared with the Twins and Royals in 2013. A lifetime .272/.349/.338 hitter in parts of 12 big league seasons, he joins former Pirate Kevin Young as an offseason addition to the baseball operations department. “He’s an outstanding person and there’s a lot of good things that Jamey Carroll, much like Kevin Young, is going to add to this organization,” GM Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Specifically, Huntington mentioned the “ability to relate to players and mentor players as a guy who was just there, who just did that.” Brink notes that adding recent big leaguers to the baseball ops department was a goal for the Pirates this winter.
- Also from that piece, Brink spoke with Huntington and right-hander Radhames Liz about the righty’s contract with the Bucs, and the reason for the delay in finalizing the deal. Reports at the time of the announcement — which came nearly a month after word of the agreement broke — indicated that there were issues with Liz’s physical. However, both Liz and Huntington denied those claims.
- Both Young and Carroll spoke with Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about their new roles with the team (video link). Young says he specifically looks forward to working with Pedro Alvarez in the transition from third base to first base — a move that he himself made during his playing days. Carroll notes that he’ll be working a great deal with the club’s infielders but is open to helping in various capacities and learning about other elements of baseball operations.
- The Pirates opened their voluntary mini-camp today, and Alvarez was not in attendance. While many fans seem to be upset about the notion of Alvarez passing up a chance to work out with the team and improve on his transition to first base, Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle don’t seem too bothered by the decision. Hurdle told MLB.com’s Tom Singer (Twitter link), “I don’t read things into people being there or not. It’s voluntary.” Meanwhile, Huntington told Brink: “Pedro had the complete option to come in and not come in and we expect him to be ready to go the first day of spring training and get after it with Nick [Leyva] but also with Kevin [Young].” Names such as Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Francisco Liriano, Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco (among others) were also absent from the workouts.
- One last note from Brink, who tweets that the Pirates will again employ a “file and trial” approach to arbitration this winter. In other words, the team will not negotiate arb deals beyond the date on which figures are exchanged — that being this coming Friday. Any unresolved cases at the time of the exchange deadline will be settled in a hearing. Pittsburgh has 12 players eligible for arbitration, so it should be a busy week for them as they look to avoid arb hearings with that group. For those interested, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes took a longer look at “file and trial” clubs in the 2013 offseason.