It’s official: Minnesota Twins sign Park Byung-ho to 4-year, $12 million contract

December 1, 2015

By Brian Han

The wait is over. South Korean slugger Park Byung-ho officially became a Major League Baseball (MLB) player on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Twins announced that they agreed to sign the 29-year-old to a four-year contract for $12 million — slightly more than his former teammate Kang Jung-ho who signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014 for $11 million over four years.

The total cost for the Twins comes out to $28.85 million, which includes the $12.85 million posting bid that the club will now transfer over to Park’s former team, the Nexen Heroes.

Back in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), he blasted over 50 home runs in consecutive seasons before finalizing his move to the states — something that had never been done before in the 33-year history of the league.

The question now is how much of that power can Park bring to the major league table.

He admitted to the South Korean press right before he left for Minnesota on Sunday that his ability to hit for power will “make or break” his MLB career.

It’s quite a bit of pressure to put on himself early on, but other Korean MLB players like Texas Rangers’ Choo Shin-soo and Kang have both expressed faith in the rookie’s potential.

“Choo told me, ‘You can play here, absolutely,’” Park told the Star Tribune. “‘You have the talent for the top level.’“

Defense on the other hand will most likely not be an issue at all for the former first baseman. It’s not that he’s an ace with the glove (although he won three Gold Glove awards back in South Korea). Instead, early reports reveal that the Twins plan to employ him as a designated hitter, while moving 2015 rookie phenom Miguel Sano to the outfield.

As for making adjustments to excel in the MLB, Park already has one change under his belt.

“No bat flipping. I got advice from other players,” he said with a laugh. “No beanballs.”

In Park’s 2015 season with the Nexen Heroes, he batted .343 with 53 home runs and 146 RBIs.

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