The Minnesota Twins submitted the winning bid to begin contract negotiations with first baseman Byung-ho Park of the Korean Baseball Organization, the Twins announced Monday.
Why is this important? Because Park hit 53 homers last season and Minnesota is the only team now talking to him.
Hardball Talk's Aaron Gleeman writes that the Twins winning the bid for $12.85 million is surprising because "no one saw this coming."
Park has been a monster in Korea. He hit .343 with 53 homers and 146 RBIs in 140 games this season, which was slightly better than his 2014 campaign in which he hit .303 with 52 homers and 124 RBIs. He has 172 homers over the last four seasons, according to his Baseball-Reference page.
As 1500 ESPN notes, Minnesota has an exclusive 30-day period to negotiate with Park, but it doesn't guarantee they'll sign him. MLB Trade Rumors speculates that signing Park will take a deal somewhere in the five year, $40 million range. The $12.85 million bid simply gives Minnesota the chance to talk to him, and the Twins won't have to pay that money if they don't come to an agreement with Park, CBS Sports says.
What does this mean for Mauer?
Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if Mauer's future is in doubt if the Twins sign Park.
Adding Park to the Twins would create a further logjam at the corner infield positions, as Minnesota already jockeys Mauer, Miguel Sano and Trevor Plouffe at third, first and designated hitter. Sano could move to the outfield if he's able to take on the learning curve, or the Twins could trade Plouffe, the Post speculates.
The Twins say they won't comment further out of respect for Park and his team in Korea.