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Korean reports point to surgery for Jung Ho Kang; 2018 in jeopardy

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates’ INF Jung Ho Kang’s 2018 season is likely in jeopardy after Korean reports indicate that he will require surgery on his wrist.

Pittsburgh Pirates fans were hoping that Jung Ho Kang could be a mid-to-late season shot in the arm for their club. Alas, that is unlikely to occur.

Despite general manager Neal Huntington’s hedging that Kang was “working through” the wrist injury, the Naver report paints a much more grim picture.

At this point, the surgery may also put Kang’s 2019 with the Pirates in question as well. The club carries a $5.5 million option on Kang for his services next year. That is a bargain rate for a solid hitter with 30-home run potential power, but wrist injuries have a tendency to sap power. Though the depth and severity of Kang’s injury have been debated, it would be naive to think that it would not have some effect on his power.

Then again, should the team pick up the option, he would have a full offseason to build up strength, followed by a full spring training.

It will be up to the Pittsburgh Pirates brass to gauge how much risk they want to incur by bringing Kang back. That type of risk has normally not been something the team is comfortable with, but then again Huntington just traded two highly regarded former prospects and a third piece that is claimed to be “significant.”

Perhaps in this new paradigm, the club might be open to rolling the dice a bit more.