The Minnesota Twins have won the exclusive negotiating rights with Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park, Daniel Kim from KBSn in South Korea first reported Monday.
If the two sides get a deal done, The Twins will pay a $12.85 million posting fee to the Nexen Heroes, Park's team in Korea.
The Twins and Park's representatives at Octagon have 30 days to sign a Major or Minor League contract for him to head to the United States.
Park's sweepstakes were that of a commodity. Slowly, but surely, each team was eliminated from the Park bidding, leaving about four teams, the Brewers, Cubs, Reds, and Twins. The Rockies, Cardinals, and Pirates were considered early favorites sign Park, but they obviously did not bid enough or perhaps at all.
The Twins are an interesting fit for Park, as they hid in the weeds in the weeks lining up to sign him. They already have two capable first baseman Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano. However, the team is considering moving the latter to the outfield, while splitting Mauer and Park at first base and designated hitter.
Another possibility for the Twins is trading third baseman Trevor Plouffe, moving Sano there, and slotting either Mauer or Park in at first base, with the other becoming the designated hitter.
It appears as if Minnesota prefers the first scenario, but the second may come into play if the decide that, defensively, Sano isn't worth sticking out in the outfield.
Park's posting fee is significantly larger than the last top Korean prospect to come over to the United States, Jung-ho Kang. Kang had such a successful season with the Pirates on just a $5 million posting fee that the other teams took notice and had to respond, but for more money, obviously.
In Korea, Park's power was his main asset. Last season, the 29-year-old Park hit .343/.436/.714 with 53 home runs and 146 RBIs in 622 plate appearances with Nexen in a well-documented, hitter-friendly Korean Baseball Organization.