A small market team made a big money move this week. The Twins made the winning $12.85 million bid on South Korean 1B Byong-ho Park. Minnesota now has till December 9th to negotiate a contract with Park.
Nexen had until Monday, November 9th to accept a bid. There were a reported 10+ teams bidding for his rights at one point.
The 29-year-old slugger hit 53 home runs in 2015 for Nexen, hitting .343/.436/.714 with 146 RBI in 140 games. His 146 RBI’s set a new KBO league record for runs batted in. Park hit 52 home runs in 2014, and over the last four seasons in the KBO has averaged 43 home runs and 123 RBI.
“I’d like to thank everyone for helping me chase my major league dreams,” Park said through Nexen, per Yonhap News. “But there are many more steps that I have to take before reaching the big leagues. And as a member of the national team, I want to do the best I can to help the country achieve good results at the Premier 12.”
This bid on Byong-ho is a distant second in terms of highest bids, to the Dodger’s $25.7 million bid on Hyun-Jin Ryu in 2012.
Byon-ho’s agent spoke about his client’s contract “based on Kang’s performance, there has been a lot more optimism regarding Park’s potential,” Nero told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. “As I said last year with Kang, if he were Cuban (and not subject to the posting process), he would have got $100 million. The same is true of Park. Power pays.”
This move from the small-market Minnesota Twins is a bold one. Their former 6 time all-star and MVP award winner, Joe Mauer, has been lackluster to say the least the past couple years. His batting average the past two years are .277 in 2014, then .265 this past season. Byong-ho Park is also entering his age 29 season while Mauer is currently going into his age 33 season. The age difference isn’t that big, but if Park’s power transitions to the MLB smoothly, he could take over for Mauer, or the DH spot. The Twins could also be looking to ship Mauer this offseason via trade. Either way, the Twins got themselves a big impact bat in their lineup. The rest of the AL Central better find their way to pitch him, or he will make everyone pay all season.