Twins sign Korean slugger Park to four-year, $12 million deal
MINNEAPOLIS — Byung Ho Park is making the move from South Korea to Minnesota to play for the Twins, and he’s bringing his big bat with him.
Park agreed Tuesday to a $12 million, four-year contract with the Twins, who are looking to add power to their lineup around promising youngster Miguel Sano and veterans Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier.
The 29-year-old will get $2.75 million in each of the next two seasons and $3 million each in 2018 and ’19. The Twins have a $6.5 million option for 2020 with a $500,000 buyout.
On Nov. 9, Minnesota won the right to negotiate with Park for 30 days by placing a high bid of $12.85 million after he was posted by the Nexen Heroes under Major League Baseball’s agreement with the Korea Baseball Organization. The money was due only if Park signed with the Twins.
Park hit .343 with 53 homers and 146 RBI this year. He has a .281 average and 210 homers and won two MVPs in parts of nine seasons in Korea.
Exactly how those numbers will translate against the better pitching he will face in the United States remains to be seen.
With Joe Mauer entrenched as the everyday first baseman, the Twins will likely use Park as a designated hitter most of the time. The Twins have said they plan to use Sano, who was primarily the DH during his rookie season, in the outfield next year.
This is the second time the Twins have landed a player by winning the right to negotiate with him through a posting fee. They signed Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka in 2010, but he hit just .215 in 71 career games before going back to Japan.
Park’s deal is comparable to a similar contract that Korean shortstop Jung Ho Kang signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, a four-year deal worth $11 million.