The Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) have accepted the winning bid of $12.85 million from a Major League Baseball (MLB) club for negotiation rights with slugger Byung-ho Park, according to Han Lee of Global Sporting Integration.
The only player with a higher posting fee was outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2000 with $13.12 million. Suzuki won the MLB American League Most Valuable Player award in 2001.
According to Jeeho Yoo of the Yonhap News, the Heroes will find out the winner on Monday morning. The rights to negotiate with Park will last for 30 days. If both parties agree on a contract, the Heroes will keep the posting fee as compensation for their slugger.
"I'd like to thank everyone for helping me chase my major league dreams," Park said through the club. "But there are many more steps that I have to take before reaching the big leagues. And as a member of the national team, I want to do the best I can to help the country achieve good results at the Premier 12."
If Park, however, can not agree with the MLB club, then he can not be posted until November 1, 2016. He would also have the opportunity to go to the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league in Japan or return for one more season with the Heroes.
While it is very hard to tell who won the bidding because of lack of indication, there are thoughts rolling around that the Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates are possible matches.
Park, 29, made his professional debut in the KBO with the LG Twins in 2005. The first baseman did not play from 2007-2008 because he joined the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps Baseball Team to serve a two-year military service.
On July 31, 2011, Park was dealt to the Heroes with Shim-Soo-chang for Kim Seong-hyeon and Song Sin-yeong. It was good for the slugger because he got out of his backup role, behind Lee Taek-keun, with the Twins
Over 868 games in nine seasons in the KBO, Park has posted a .281 batting average with 210 home runs and 604 RBI. However, those numbers do not show Park's ability.
The 29-year-old has hit a .332 batting average with 173 home runs and 429 RBI over the last four seasons with Nexen, appearing in 529 games.
Park's best season was 2015, which he hit .343/.436/.714 with 53 home runs and 146 RBI.
He was the KBO Most Valuable Player in 2012, 2013 and is the clear front runner for the award in 2015. Park will also be awarded with Triple Crown honors, as he led in batting average, home runs and RBI over the 2015 season.
Last December, Nexen and the Pirates agreed on a bid of just over $5 million to negotiate with infielder Jung-ho Kang. The two sides agreed on a four-year, $11 million contract with an optional fifth year. Kang debuted in the MLB on April 8, 2015, which was exactly nine years after his KBO debut.
Jordan Bastain of MLB.com reported that the Cleveland Indians did not submit the winning bid for the first baseman. Chris Iott of MLive noted that the Detroit Tigers did not even submit a bid for Park.
On Saturday afternoon, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported that the Baltimore Orioles made an offer to Nexen, but were outbid by a different club.
According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Diego Padres are not the team that won the negotiating rights. He later mentioned that San Diego may not have even placed a bid because of their current financial situation.
The Texas Rangers, according to TR Sullivan of MLB.com, are not the team to win the bid for the slugger.
The Los Angeles Angels did not win the big for Park, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register noted on Satruday afternoon.
The fact that Park worked on his fielding skills at third base during the offseason and in the regular season attracted many teams. Park could eventually make a transition into the outfield to continue to expand his options for MLB clubs.
The first baseman should command about a five-year deal for $40 million from whichever team won the posting fee.