Optimistic Twins won't divulge Park negotiations
Minnesota has until Dec. 8 to sign Korean designated hitter/first baseman
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins remain optimistic they'll be able to sign Korean slugger Byung Ho Park after learning they had submitted the winning bid for the first baseman/designated hitter on Nov. 9. The deadline for the club to sign Park is Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. ET.
Park, a two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner with the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, combined to hit 105 homers with 270 RBIs in 268 games over the past two seasons. Minnesota won the bid for Park for $12.85 million, but if the Twins and Park can't come to terms, Nexen will not receive the posting fee. The Twins, though, remain hopeful it won't come to that and an agreement will be reached.
"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 said. "So there's no indications that we won't at this point."
Antony, though, wouldn't say how close the Twins are to a deal, as the club plans to keep their negotiations private with Park and his agent, Alan Nero.
"We're not going to do updates," Antony said. "We're in talks and we're in conversations, but we're not going to say anything on Park until we get something done or things break down. But hopefully we get something done."
Park, 29, hit .343/.436/.714 with 53 home runs and 146 RBIs in 140 games with last season, and he is a strong candidate to win his third MVP award. He also won it in 2012 and '13. But he also struck out a combined 303 times.
If signed, Park is expected to be the club's regular designated hitter next season, with Joe Mauer at first base. The Twins still have to resolve their situation at third base, as they could keep Trevor Plouffe there and move Miguel Sano to the outfield or trade Plouffe to make room for Sano.
The Twins believe Park's power will translate to the Majors. If he signs, the club is hopeful he'll adjust quickly, much like Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang, who had an impressive debut season last year that saw him finish third in the balloting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Kang was a teammate of Park's with Nexen before Pittsburgh submitted a winning bid of $5 million before the 2015 season. The Pirates signed Kang to a four-year deal worth $11 million, but Park is looking for more than that.
Park is currently playing for South Korea's national team in the WBSC Premier12 international tournament. Entering Thursday, he was hitting .192 (5-for-26) with a homer, a double, three walks, eight strikeouts and an RBI in seven games.