FA market heats up as Park Hae-min joins the LG Twins
The LG Twins on Tuesday signed outfielder Park Hae-min on a four-year-deal worth 6 billion won ($5.1 million).
Park, the former Samsung Lions captain, will make 600 million won in guaranteed salary each year with a total of 400 million won in incentives. He'll receive a huge 3.2 billion won as a signing bonus.
Park debuted with the Lions in 2013 and spent the following eight years developing into one of the best outfielders in the KBO. He's also a solid offensive player with a career .286 batting average and a serious turn of speed, stealing 318 bases in his career and leading the KBO in that category from 2015 to 2018.
Park was one of the biggest names in this year's free agent (FA) market, and the first of the "A-rated" players to sign a new contract. Alongside Park, Kim Jae-hwan and Park Kun-woo of the Doosan Bears, Seo Geon-chang of the Twins and Na Sung-bum of the NC Dinos were each included in the KBO's top FA category.
There has been little movement in the FA market so far this offseason, with the only other deal going to catcher Choi Jae-hoon, who signed a five-year, 5.4-billion-won deal to stay with the Hanwha Eagles. With Park Hae-min now also off the market, teams are expected to move faster to lock in deals as the market heats up.
NC’s Na could provide some intrigue this year, as the slugger may try posting to the major leagues again.
Last year, Na made a bid to move to the majors, but failed to land a contract within the posting period. The KBO announced in November that they have again received a status request for Na, the very first step toward a possible move to the United States.
If a move to the majors isn't on the table for Na, there is likely to be plenty of interest in the KBO, with the Kia Tigers rumored to be looking to sign the slugger to a big deal.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]