According to MLB and KBO writer Daniel Kim, the Minnesota Twins have won the bid on Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. The bid itself is worth $12.85 million and will give the Twins thirty days to agree on a contract with the international star. The Nexen Heroes of the KBO League posted Park on November 2, and closed the bidding later that week on November 6. There were numerous teams across the league that had been seen as favorites for Park’s services, creating havoc across social media the past few days. The bid itself is the second largest for any Korean player to date, trailing only behind the $25.7 million dollar posting fee Hyun-jin Ryu required back in November of 2012. Byung is the second Korean player in the past two years to make the jump to the MLB. Last year it was Jung-ho Kang, and he went on to have a great first season in the U.S. before getting injured. Kang is currently an NL Rookie of The Year Finalist for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Over the past few years, Park has dominated the KBO offensively in multiple categories. In 2015 alone, Park hit .343 while smashing 53 home runs and posting a .436 OBP. Even with the KBO being known as an extremely hitter-friendly league, numbers like that cannot be ignored. Power these days is a rare commodity in the league, it just doesn’t come around like it once did. If Park’s numbers can translate the way Kang’s did in 2015, he’ll have no problem becoming a star on U.S. soil. International stars have always been tough to project throughout the years though, you never know how they’ll react to playing in a completely new place.
First baseman Joe Mauer is still currently on the Twins roster, so it will be interesting as to how they fit both him and Park on the team. With a full offseason ahead, though, plenty of moves can still be made to shake up the team a bit. Mauer’s contract will not be very easy to move either, since he no longer plays catcher and his offensive value has continued to drop dramatically. Maybe a position change could be in the future for the 29-year-old Park, as his defense at first has never been one of his selling points. Nothing is set in stone though, plenty of pieces still need to fall to ensure Park becomes a Twin.
If Byung-Ho Park and the Twins are unable to strike a deal over this negotiation period, then the Nexen Heroes will miss out on the posting fee and Minnesota will be forced to move on. At this point though, it would be a pretty tough blow to the Twins if they end up missing out on a guy with such potential. Park’s presence alone would help give Minnesota some more offense, something they’ve needed as of late. One way to conquer a struggling pitching staff is with a strong offense. It isn’t the most popular method to win, but at this point the Twins do not have many other options if they want to chase a World Series title right now.