South Korean signed to four-year, $12 million contract by Minnesota Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Byung Ho Park might not hit 50 homers a season in the majors the way he did back home in South Korea, but the Minnesota Twins are confident his right-handed power will translate.Park, a 29-year-old first baseman/designated hitter, ...
MINNEAPOLIS - Byung Ho Park might not hit 50 homers a season in the majors the way he did back home in South Korea, but the Minnesota Twins are confident his right-handed power will translate.
Park, a 29-year-old first baseman/designated hitter, agreed to a four-year, $12 million contract with the Twins after passing his physical exam, the team announced Tuesday. There’s also a fifth-year club option at $6.5 million ($500,000 buyout), pushing the maximum value of the contract to $18 million.
The two-time most valuable player of the Korea Baseball Organization (2012-13) will be introduced to the media at a 10 a.m. news conference Wednesday at Target Field.
The agreement comes with a week to spare before a Dec. 8 deadline, when the 30-day negotiating window would have closed. The Twins won the bidding rights for Park on Nov. 9, when the Nexen Heroes of the KBO accepted their blind bid of $12.85 million.
That makes their total investment in Park $6.21 million per year. He will be paid salaries of $2.75 million in each of the next two seasons, followed by $3 million apiece in 2018 and 2019.
Park’s deal does not include a no-trade provision, according to a person with direct knowledge. He arrived in the Twin Cities late Sunday. Before departing, he said he hoped to at least match the production of Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang, his former Nexen teammate.
The Pirates bid $5 million for Kang’s negotiating rights and guaranteed him $11 million over four years, plus a fifth-year club option at $5.5 million. Kang, a shortstop/third baseman, started slowly but rallied to finish with 15 home runs and a combined on-base/slugging percentage of .816.
Kang, 28, finished third in rookie of the year voting for the National League.
Initial estimates had placed Park’s guaranteed haul at between $20 million and $30 million over four or five seasons, so the Twins appear to have done well. Left fielder Josh Willingham’s three-year, $21 million deal (2012-14) remains the largest in club history for a free-agent position player.
Before signing Park, the Twins had seven players under contract for 2016 at a combined $73 million.
They also must decide by Wednesday night whether to tender contracts to their six arbitration-eligible players: third baseman Trevor Plouffe, relievers Kevin Jepsen and Casey Fien, left-hander Tommy Milone, shortstop Eduardo Escobar and utility infielder Eduardo Nunez.
Combined salary for that group is estimated at roughly $24 million.
This is the first significant foray into the Asian market for the Twins since the ill-fated signing of Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the reigning Japanese league Gold Glove winner and batting champion, during the 2010-11 offseason. That transaction cost the Twins a $5.3 million posting fee to Chiba Lotte, followed by a three-year, $9.25 million deal that included a club option.
After suffering a broken leg early in the 2011 season and spending all but three games at Triple-A Rochester the following year, Nishioka eventually returned home after just two seasons, renouncing the final $3.25 million on his contract.