Here are some highlights from Jung-Ho Kang's press conference with the Korean media just before his flight to the U.S. This first one is eye-opening:
One thing Kang did say: he's confident he can outplay Jordy Mercer if given consistent opportunities to play; and he'd like to play SS— Jeeho Yoo (@Jeeho_1) January 14, 2015
@MyKBO He said he can play better without first specifying who.. Asked if he was referring to the current shortstop Mercer, he nodded...— Jeeho Yoo (@Jeeho_1) January 14, 2015
@MyKBO It was more of expressing confidence than anything; don't think he really meant to throw down gauntlet or fire shots at Mercer— Jeeho Yoo (@Jeeho_1) January 14, 2015
Maybe Kang can beat out Mercer, and as David notes, it's good that he believes he can, but this was not a smart thing to say, even if he wasn't intending to be inflammatory. The fact is that he has little idea what he's getting into. Also, I bet if Mercer, who posted a 2.0 fWAR last year, were to hit the market through the posting system, he'd get a lot more than $5 million. Good on Kang if he can outplay Mercer, but Mercer will likely, and probably should, head into the season as the starter at shortstop.
Kang said he was a bit surprised at reports that he'd already signed; "nothing is set in stone" he said; he doesn't know any figures— Jeeho Yoo (@Jeeho_1) January 14, 2015
I wouldn't read too much into this. Kang probably isn't a key part of contract negotiations, and every indication is that he'll sign.