Oh, ByungHo. We hardly knew thee.
Alas, it is true — Korean Slugger ByungHo Park has signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract to play for the Nexen Heroes in 2018. The Heroes play in South Korea, and they aren’t the Twins, so obviously this means Park and the Minnesota Twins are parting ways for good (pending some last minute paper work). Park technically had one year left on his three year contract, which was worth about $3 million, but that will probably now be forfeited to the Twins. A person close to Park told Mike Berardino: “[Park]'s a very proud man and he wants to play — not in the minor leagues."
If Park wants to give us back $3 million to go back home, it’s all good in the hood as far as I’m concerned.
ByungHo had 199 at-bats in the majors, all in 2016, which was his rookie year. Although he showed early promise by hitting nine massively impressive moon-dongs, Park soon feel apart. It turned out that he had suffered some sort of wrist injury that caused him to hit crappily until he was demoted to Triple-A in early Jul 2016. He did pretty “eh” there until August, when he then elected to have season-ending wrist surgery.
Being one of fierce determination, ByungHo Park worked hard to come back over the 2016-2017 offseason. When he arrived at spring training earlier this year, however, he was slapped with the news that the newly-installed Twins front office had DFAed him, and he went through waivers unclaimed (to the surprise of many). Park took it professionally, though, and ended up having one of the strongest offensive performances for the Twins that spring training. Yet, once again, shocking everyone, Park didn’t make the major league roster, mostly because there was no space for him on the 40-man roster.
So Park started 2017 in Triple-A Rochester, but he ended up pulling his hamstring after just a couple games. He then missed over a month, and, well, I feel like he just never really came back.
In 62 major league games, Park hit .191/.275/.409 with nine home runs — including a 466 ft blast at Target Field. He hit .247/.305/.439 with 24 home runs through 142 games in Triple-A.
I had heard that Park wasn’t going to give up just yet, and he was planning to spend the entire offseason in the USA training, but obviously that’s not the case. Honestly, I’m not all that surprised by this. I think Park could have done better than he did here, but the combination of his injuries, along with the total change in front office — the people who brought him here were all fired — it just wasn’t optimal at all, and I think he recognized that. Heck, new GM Thad Levine might have just straight up told him it was doubtful he’d ever play in the majors again.
Hopefully this is the best move for Park, and he finds happiness and success once again in his homeland. I certainly hope for nothing less for him.
And with all that out of the way, let’s remember some of our favorite ByungHo Park moments as a Twin:
- ByungHo Park attends Phil Hughes’ The Bachelor party and rightfully has no idea what is going on (with photos here).
- ByungHo Park teaches Miguel Sano some Korean
- Descriptions of Byung-Ho Park's first MLB home run—via Google Translate
- Korean descriptions of Byung-Ho Park's first MLB multi-home run game (via Google Translate)
Sorry it didn’t turn out better, but in any case, good luck in the future, ByungHo! *erects thumbs up*