Minnesota Twins Offseason Weekly Reaction: Byung Ho Park and John Hicks


Writers Note: A weekly review of the Minnesota Twins offseason transactions, including reaction and opinions from fans and myself. Look for future polls on my Twitter account to share your opinions.

Last week I felt compelled to write about which player fans, and myself, were thankful for.

This week it is back to reactions regarding the Minnesota Twins offseason transactions.

On Dec. 2, the Twins claimed catcher John Hicks off of waivers from the Seattle Mariners.

But first, the news of Byung Ho Park officially signing with the Twins was much discussed. That is until David Price signed for over $200 million. Not letting the Price deal be the forefront of baseball news, I asked fans if they thought Park would succeed.

Note that I put succeed in quotations. Every one different interpretations of what major league success looks like. For Park, if he hit more than 20 home runs, most would call that a successful transition. If this does not sound like success, consider this.

Park, as reported on Dec. 1, will be making $2.75 million the first two years and $3 million the final two years of his contract. It would be quite low for a player hitting more than 20 home runs. If the Twins 2015 salaries carried over into 2016, Park’s first year salary would barely be enough to crack the top ten most paid Twins.

Clearly, Park is a bargain barring any complication. Previously I have compared Park’s self-projected SO% and BB% to Mark Trumbo and Ian Desmond. This last week I found a current MLB player whose swing closely mirrors Park’s.

It is not a perfect match but from the side angle they appear to very similar. Because Park is the Twins DH in 2016, he will no doubt be trying to hit one out of the park.

I project he will hit close to 20 home runs, anything more than that is an added bonus. As far as succeeding, he has Jung Ho Kang to help him ease in a little. What luck, he even likes Joe Mauer.

Minor League Signings and John Hicks

Along with the Hicks acquisition, MLB Trade Rumors has reported that the Twins have signed three minor leaguers.

The first being Aaron Thompson. If you watched the Twins during the first half of the year you are familiar with Thompson. The LHP found his niche as a reliever with the Twins. Last year he pitched so well he was given a later inning role. Inconsistency later in the season was the reason for his demotion to triple-A. It would seem logical that Thompson starts there in 2016 with a chance to make the team out of Spring Training just as he did last season.

The second player is catcher Juan Centeno. Last year he played 10 games with the Milwaukee Brewers – with most of his time being spent in triple-A. Centeno will likely replace the role of Eric Fryer. He has slashed .280/.327/.339 in 1610 minor league at-bats. As his .339 slugging percentage displays, there isn’t much pop in the bat. Centeno’s three minor league home runs is further proof that he won’t overwhelm anyone with his power.

The third player is also a familiar name. Joe Benson, called up on the same day as Chris Parmelee in 2011, didn’t get his first major league hit until his fourth game with the Twins. He has never played in the majors since. Toiling in the minors, Benson would most likely start the year with double-A Chattanooga.

Hicks, while with Seattle, has spent little time in the majors. As mentioned, Centeno is a replacement for Fryer. However, Hicks is as well. Both catchers are organizational depth and are filling the void left by Fryer, Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann in triple-A.

Mike Pelfrey’s Contract

Dec. 4 Ken Rosenthal conformed that former Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers.

Pelfrey won 11 games in three seasons with Twins. He had his moments last season, but fans were continually annoyed with him. He pitched his best season with the Twins last year. Even though his record was 6-11, he improved his SO9, BB9, H9 and led the American League with a 0.6 HR9.

The “big game” wins seemed to allude Pelfrey. That alone was his downfall.

When the season ended with his contract expired, Pelfrey expressed his strong feelings about wanting to return to Minnesota. Every fan knew, there would be no way the Twins would bring him back.

Pelfrey will make more than he did in Minnesota. The Tigers are desperate for pitching. It is a good fit for both. For those that think his value does not constitute $8 million a year, may I remind you about David Price and Zack Greinke.