The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to add depth to their Triple-A roster by signing Jung-ho Kang to a Minor League deal. Should the Brewers take a risk on Kang?
Jung-ho Kang was cut loose by the Pittsburgh Pirates in early August. He signed a one-year deal worth $3 million back in November that the Pirates will continue to pay through the end of the year. If the deal goes through, the Milwaukee Brewers would only be on the hook for the cost of a Minor League contract. The deal isn’t finalized yet, but all indications are that Kang will work out a Minor League deal with the Milwaukee Brewers soon.
Could Kang rebuild his value with the Brewers, or would this end up as a pointless move?
How was Kang playing this year?
Well, the Pirates released him. What does that tell you?
In 65 games in the Majors in 2019, Kang slashed .169/.222/.395 with 10 homers, 24 RBIs, 11 walks, and 60 strikeouts. Kang had only played three games in the Majors during the previous two seasons due to visa issues caused by his repeated DUI violations in South Korea.
When was his last DUI?
In June of 2018, Kang said he had given up drinking completely after his third DUI in December of 2017.
If he’s relapsed, it hasn’t been made public.
Why did the Brewers look at Kang?
Kang had been working out with the Milwaukee Brewers Triple-A affiliate, the San Antonio Missions. It sounds like he’s looked impressive enough to take a flyer on.
Wasn’t Kang really good?
He bashed 40 homers for the KBO’s Nexen Heroes in 2014. Based on his power production in Korea, the Pittsburgh Pirates offered Kang a four-year deal. He bashed 36 homers and posted a .273/.355/.483 slash line over his first two seasons.
He’s spent time at third base and shortstop in the Majors.
What’s the best case scenario for Kang?
Ideally, he would finish the year with San Antonio, show the power and plate discipline that earned him a four-year contract in 2015, and sign a one-year deal for 2020 with an eye towards competing for a bench spot with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Assuming this deal goes through, there’s virtually zero chance Kang reaches the Majors in 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers. The would have to suffer a rash of injuries for a Kang call up to make any sense for this year. Hernan Perez, Travis Shaw, and Tyler Saladino would all have to miss time for Kang to even get considered for a call up.