Kang’s agent confident about deal with Pirates

Talking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Alan Nero — the agent for Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kangsaid he is confident that his client will be able to reach a deal with the Pirates in the coming weeks.

The Pirates were granted exclusive negotiating rights with Kang after his KBO team, the Nexen Heroes, accepted Pittsburgh’s $5,002,015 bid on Dec. 20. In posting the winning bid, the Pirates received a 30-day window to come to an agreement with Kang. If the two sides do not reach a deal by Jan. 20, Kang would return to his KBO club and the Pirates’ bid would be returned.

Nero, however, doesn’t seem concerned about that possibility at this point.

“At this point, I feel confident we’ll come to an agreement,” Nero said on Wednesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The process has been very positive. [General manager Neal Huntington] has tried very hard to basically come to the table with an offer.”

If he indeed reaches a deal, Kang could eventually battle Jordy Mercer for the Pirates’ starting shortstop job. The 27-year-old Kang posted an eye-popping .356/.459/.739 batting line with 40 home runs and 117 RBI in 117 games last season, albeit in the offensive-minded KBO. Though it remains unclear just how exactly Kang’s game will translate to the Majors, it sounds as if he’ll at least receive a chance in Pittsburgh in 2015.

— Paul Casella

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