Former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang is attempting to make a comeback…in the Korean Baseball Organization.
Before Jung Ho Kang made his way to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was one of the biggest stars of the Korean Baseball Organization. A tremendous power hitting shortstop, Kang was a Gold Glove winner, a tremendous player who was considered one of the top prospects to come out of the league. When he signed with the Pirates, the expectation was that he would be a solid major leaguer.
That was the case for the first two years in a Pirates uniform. However, Kang’s drinking, a problem in Korea, derailed his Pirates career. He missed all of 2017 and the majority of 2018 due to visa issues and not being able to come stateside. When he returned in 2019, he just was not the same player.
While he is not likely to receive any major league offers, Kang is still looking to continue his professional career. In fact, he is looking to return to the KBO, with his representatives hoping to work out a deal to get Kang back on the diamond.
That may be easier said than done. Due to his third DUI arrest, Kang faces a three year suspension, which would make him 36 years old by the time he could return. His representatives are arguing that since the third arrest happened while he was a member of the Pirates, it should not count. The hope is that he would be looking at a 90 game banishment instead.
During his time in the KBO, Kang had produced some excellent numbers. He posted a .298/.383/.504 batting line, hitting 193 doubles and 139 homers in his nine seasons. However, a lot has changed since then. The lively ball is no longer in use in the league. Meanwhile, the competition has improved, with the KBO much different than it was in Kang’s time.
Nonetheless, he may well find his way back on the diamond. The Kiwoom Heroes still own his rights, even though he was posted following the 2014 season. If Kang is to play, he will need to come to a new agreement with the Heroes, or be dealt to another team should any want his services.
Jung Ho Kang is looking to continue his professional career in the Korean Baseball Organization. However, he still has plenty of hurdles to overcome before that can happen.