After weeks of speculation, rumors, and reports–including a flat-out wrong report this morning–we finally know which MLB team won the bidding for Korean slugger Byung-ho Park: Minnesota.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Twins submitted the high bid at $12.85 million, which is amusing because the Twins were one of the few teams not linked to Park in various reports. No one saw this coming.
Minnesota now has a 30-day exclusive negotiating window with Park, who hit .343 with 53 homers, 146 RBIs, and a 1.150 OPS in 140 games for Nexen this season and has topped a 1.000 OPS in each of the past three years. Pirates shortstop Jung Ho Kang had similarly amazing numbers in the same league two years ago and went on to hit .287 with an .816 OPS in 126 games as an MLB rookie.
As a first baseman Park would be a bit of an odd fit in Minnesota given the presence of Joe Mauer at first base and Miguel Sano at designated hitter, but Sano played third base in the minors and the Twins have talked recently about getting him some reps in the outfield too. They could find room for Park, Mauer, and Sano in the same lineup by either trading incumbent third baseman Trevor Plouffe–which is a possibility I wrote 1,000 words about two weeks ago–or making Sano a left fielder.
Either way, this news comes as a huge shock to Twins fans and will have everyone in Minnesota refreshing Park’s statistics page on Baseball-Reference.com all day.