The Minnesota Twins won the right to bid for Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. The mystery team was announced Monday after the winning bid of $12.85 million was named Friday by the Nexen Heroes.
The team has 30 days to negotiate a contract.
I listed him as an option Friday’s free agent primer, but noted the logjam currently in the corner infield with Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe and Miguel Sano. Even if Sano plays outfield for a number of games, adding Park creates more traffic, and almost spells out an impending Plouffe trade. There’s also the possibility the Twins look at him solely as a DH, which might help his transition to the U.S. by allowing him to focus on his best attribute — hitting.
With $12.85 million just to negotiate a contract with the 29-year-old slugger, and an estimated $8M a year to sign him, that’s a $20M investment into an already -loaded position.
Ryan has had good luck with international signings recently, landing top prospect Sano and Max Kepler, who looks like a potential impact bat in the future.
Last year Park batted .343/.436/.714 with 53 home runs in 622 plate appearances, an overall improvement from 2014. That year his triple slash was lower, but he did hit 52 home runs. His strikeouts will be the question at the plate. He’s gone down on strikes nearly 25 percent of the time in the last two seasons. History of the international market also comes into play, as high-priced sluggers from Japan and Korea haven’t always brought the same output they’re being signed under, though fellow Korean Jung-ho Kang had an impressive season last year in Pittsburgh.