Baseball / MLB

Kang Jung-ho stays with Pirates

AP

Kang Jung-ho is staying with the Pittsburgh Pirates after the two parties agreed Thursday to a $3 million, one-year contract that includes $2.5 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.

The deal was announced a week after Pittsburgh declined a $5.5 million club option for the third baseman, triggering a $250,000 buyout.

“We feel that bringing Jung-ho back in 2019 will make us better as he will have the ability to make a positive impact on our lineup,” general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement.

Kang was a star in his native South Korea when the Pirates signed him to an $11 million, four-year deal in January 2015. He finished third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting after hitting 15 homers and driving in 58 runs in 2015, when Pittsburgh won 98 games. It would be the high point of Kang’s time with the Pirates.

The 31-year-old didn’t play in the U.S. between September 2016 and June 2018 because of visa issues connected to three DUI arrests in South Korea.

He made it back to the majors with Pittsburgh in September and went 2-for-6 during the final weekend of the season.