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Pirates win bid to negotiate with Jung-ho Kang

Pittsburgh will have 30 days to negotiate a deal with the Korean shortstop.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates have won the bidding for Korean infielder Jung-ho Kang, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

That Pittsburgh posted the biggest bid for Kang comes as a bit of a surprise, though the Pirates' bid was reportedly just over $5 million. The club now has a 30-day window in which they will negotiate with and try to sign Kang.

Per Heyman, Kang is looking for roughly $5 million annually on a three-to-four year deal, something the Pirates can probably afford given that they were willing to bid on the infielder in the first place. Such a contract will be more than worth it on Pittsburgh's end anyhow even if Kang only turns into a reliable bench contributor.

The 27-year-old was posted by the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization after nine professional seasons in Korea. Kang batted .356/.459/.739 with 40 home runs in 501 plate appearances last season for Nexen, though the KBO is a favorable league for hitters. Even still, the right-handed hitting Kang is expected to bring some offensive upside and power potential to the big leagues.

Where he fits in with the Pirates is a bigger question. Scouts are reportedly divided on Kang's ultimate position at the MLB level. Some doubt his ability to stick at shortstop, and Pittsburgh already has Jordy Mercer and Sean Rodriguez to man the position. Kang could serve in a utility role at a number of infield positions, or he could slide over to third base, enabling Josh Harrison to play second base and Neil Walker to move to first.

Either way, Kang's playing time will likely depend on how much he hits, and for a bid of just $5 million he could prove to be a nifty pickup for the Pirates.