Byung Ho Park, the Korean slugger who hit 53 home runs last season for the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, has landed in Minnesota, according to a published report, and now the Twins and Park will try and strike a deal before a Dec. 8 deadline.
The Twins won the right to negotiate with Park after posting a winning bid of nearly $13 million. If the Twins and Park can’t come to terms, Nexen will not receive the posting fee, according to MLB.com.
“We wouldn’t have bid on him if we didn’t believe or hope that we could get him signed,” Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony told MLB.com. “So there’s no indication that we won’t at this point.”
Park is a two-time MVP in the KBO who hit 105 home runs and drove in 270 RBIs in 268 games over the past two seasons for Nexen, according to MLB.com.
Those are some heady numbers for Park, but remember the Tsuyoshi Nishioka experiment? Nishioka signed with the Twins in 2011 after hitting .346 with 206 hits for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, but then played so poorly for the Twins that he asked to be released and forfeited $3.25 million in salary. He also apologized.
Here’s how USA Today reported the news:
For those aghast at underperforming athletes who continue collecting paychecks, you have a new hero: Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
There’s no way of knowing if Park will succeed in the majors, but even his numbers trump Nishioka’s final standout year with the Marines. In addition to hitting 53 homers last season, Park also hit .343 and drove in 146 RBIs.
Keeping my fingers crossed.
Here’s Park demonstrating his homer-hitting prowess: