Pirates Reportedly Not the Winning Bidder For Byung-ho Park

According to multiple sources, the Pittsburgh Pirates did not submit the winning bid for first baseman Byung-ho Park. The Nexen Heroes received a $12.85M bid for the posting fee last week from an unknown team. Early reports in the morning from CJ Nitkowski, who has ties in Korea, claimed that the Pirates won the rights to negotiate with Park, but that report was quickly shot down by numerous industry sources, with Buster Olney first breaking the news to Pirates’ fans.

Jon Heyman also confirmed the news shortly afterwards.

The winning team will be announced later today.

Update 10:18 AM: Reports are that the Minnesota Twins have won the right to negotiate with Park.

  • John, is there a hidden message in using a photo with empty seats?

  • The twins get us again on the international market….disappointed

  • Also for those saying that Pedro is “gone” or being “shopped” I completely disagree. Pirates know there aren’t any other good options. IF they wanted to get rid of him I GUARENTEE you an AL team especially a bad one would have jumped at getting a guy that can easily hit 30+ Homers and hit 240. Pedro WILL be back

  • A blessing disguise IMO. Im pretty sure we would all take 240 with 30 homers? That is probably high anyways. Remind you of anyone? His name is Pedro. Sure Park could become Abreu or he could become an absolute bust. I would expect 250 15-20 dingers. with lots of Ks. Ill take a cheaper Pedro who I KNOW will hit 30+ dingers and knock in 75+ RBIs.
    Save the money go get a couple of GOOD SPs. Im sick of all this Pedro hate. Guy is a good quality option with the bat. Im not running him out of town cause a geek stat called WAR says he’s useless. Ill take his errors instead of a guy who is injured all the time and doesnt have power and probably wont hit for average anyways in Morse.

  • After a day of reading sizzling takes and thinking about this a bit, I’m fairly disappointed.

    Even if you don’t buy projections, especially translations from other leagues, you can still get a feel for range of expected performance just by playing with numbers. To my eye, there’s nothing in Park’s swing that screams red flag to the point of straight-up not being able to hit Major League pitching. No huge timing mechanism or hitch, and plenty of bat speed. His KBL K-rate of around 25% is certainly on the high side, but not nearly to the point where you’d worry about a prospect busting at the AA level given his ridiculous overall production. The man can hit. He may strike out, but he will hit.

    Let’s assume he ends up striking out at the very upper limits of MLB, 30%, and walks at a league-average rate (8%). I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s a strong fly ball hitter, and the power is obviously above average or better. Pretty simply spreadsheet can tell you what kind of homerun range can be expected by playing with PA, FB%, and HR/FB rate, and I’m seeing anywhere between 25-35 given a 600 PA sample, fly ball rates around 40%, and HR/FB rates around 20%. Fly ball tendency means he probably won’t be a high BABIP player, but he also shouldn’t be heavily shifted into an extremely low BABIP player. That kind of expected performance essentially give you Pedro Alvarez or better. Defensively he’s gotten very good scouting reports, but even assuming he’s only average at the position puts him in the 2 WAR range.

    2 wins is more than justifiable for an investment around $10m/yr, and almost certainly better than can be expected out of Josh Bell for 2016, and likely 2017. For a team with few holes that is *still* trying to get better, I think Park does that at an easily afforded amount. More so, he’d give the Pirates a depth of options that would allow them – if they so choose – to get aggressive in upgrading other positions. Josh Bell becomes a trade chip, or allows the better value guy, Gregory Polanco, to be dangled.

    I think we’ll be looking back a year from now regretting this one a bit.

    • I don’t know if I can truly regret not landing a guy in the posting process, and if the $10.5 bid value reported for the Pirates is accurate, I think that’s a reasonably aggressive bid since the precedent of successful translation remains one player (probably a better player) for one season for now.

      But I’m also disappointed we didn’t get Park. I don’t think 25-35 HR is necessarily a good prediction for the first season or two, especially in PNC Park, but I do think he’d be a solid average Major League first baseman while he was here, and that would have been worth it.

      But again, I was actually surprised to see the $12.85 million posting fee, expecting it to sit closer to $10 million, and given no opportunity in the posting process to one-up an offer, I can’t be too critical of the Pirates for not winning the bid as long as it was a solid, competitive offer and not a low-ball.

      • I wouldn’t have bought into 25-35 home run before I ran the numbers either, and I’d fully expect him to be on the low end of that range, but I don’t really see how he *doesn’t* hit that many unless the scouting reports are way, way off.

        Jung-Ho posted a 16.9% HR/FB rate in his rookie season, and consensus seems to pretty much universally agree Park has more raw power. Put balls in play more then 60% time as a fly ball hitter (>40%) with that kind of power (~20% HR/FB rate) and it comes down to a numbers game. 600 PA with those peripherals and you’re talking about a 30 HR guy; 27 HR at 550 PA. Now the scouting reports could very obviously be wrong, but if the Pirates were in for $10m posting fee then I’d *hope* that’s a tacit admission that they trust their scouts.

        As for that posting fee, I admit to not thinking about this too much and also being an idiot, but I lean the other direction. Think the second bidder for Kang last year thinks it was worth losing that kind of talent over a million bucks or so? Is this really that much different than when we fans were furious over the McClatchy-era refusal to draft Boras clients over a few million bucks? Talent is talent.

        *If* the Pirates were already in for $10.5m with the understanding that it was going to take another $40m or so to actual sign the guy, doesn’t seem to me like losing the player all together over a few million bucks makes much sense. You’re correct that they couldn’t offer, but I find it hard to believe they also actually thought $10m would get the job done.

        • I wonder if they figured if they got him at the bid they made, it would be a bonus, but maybe their interest was tempered since he’s right-handed. Pure power right-handed hitters don’t profile especially well at PNC Park, so perhaps they see Pedro as a better fit this year just by merit of swinging from the other side (especially with Morse as their backup/platoon partner) and are sold on Josh Bell moving forward. So instead of selling out to get Park, they made an offer which might but wasn’t guaranteed to win.

          I’m not convinced the team doesn’t want Pedro back for one more year. I think he still has a place on the team, honestly, despite the iron mitt, which isn’t even guaranteed to be iron next season. It could be some softer metal, like sodium or something, but hopefully without the catching on fire in water bit. As you pointed out below, even if he shoots the difference hands-wise between last year and every other year of his professional career, he’ll be a passable option at first. And there’s a nonzero probability he finds the soft hands of his earlier days at third base and turns into a solid defender and a roughly league average overall first bagger, which is definitely better than what we’ve had for several years.

    • I disagree. Pirates shouldn’t pay that much and block a top prospect when they have a guy that is basically the same in Pedro. If you take off all the geek stats and just use your eyes and brain you will see. I wouldn’t expect Park to hit better than Pedro. In fact I would expect him to be worse with a higher K rate lower HR and RBI #s and around the same AVG. Defensively he will be better obviously. Pedro CANT get worse Defensively and probably will be better next year. His bat is vital to a team that doesn’t have much Power. I don’t care what WAR says about Pedro. Im not paying Park a good amount to block a Top Prospect, Most likely hit worse than Pedro, Take a huge risk on ? mark player, When I know what Pedro will deliver.

      • Take out the geek stat and eyes/brain nonsense and I don’t necessarily think you have a bad point.

        Pedro does seem at this point to be a pretty safe bet to give you the kind of offensive season he did last year, and while the defense was unquestionably poor, history of similar players does show that they’ve universally improved in the following season(s). Simply take out the errors where the ball either went through or clanked off his glove on throws and he’s already down to simply “bad”. That alone makes him around a (brace yourself for geekiness) 1 WAR player, which is essentially justifies his contract already.

        I think the 2016 club will miss his bat in the 7th hole, where that power production is desperately needed. Good luck producing runs with Jordy Mercer and the pitcher expected to drive in base runners.

        • I agree with everything you said. Sorry I just get a little fed up when I see people want to run Pedro out of town cause his Defense brought him down to a 0.2 WAR player so they think anyone can replace him. Without using common sense in realizing they will badly miss his bat and power production and not understanding that Morse will never produce close to Pedro No matter what WAR says.

          I wasn’t referring to you at all when I said geek just the people that only go by those stats instead of common baseball knowledge. They throw out all these numbers like they are geniuses and your stupid.

          • I appreciate that, and can certainly sympathize. I’m an admitted stat geek, and even I can get frustrated by folks parsing 1 WAR here, 1 WAR there. I don’t think the tool was ever intended to be that definitively precise.

    • OTOH, in your 3rd para, you just described Brett Wallace’s half season with the Padres. Dude had a .302 BA and .895 OPS with ~30% Ks. It’s better than what he’s ever done over a full season in MLB, and he went cold in Sept, but for a few months until Bell… if Pedro did leave, it’s an option.

      • I can’t honestly imagine going into the season with nobody but Morse capable of playing the position. They can’t be that dumb. If somebody is going to be brought in, I wouldn’t at all mind a boom/bust cheap guy like Wallace.

        I’d reeeeaaally like Steve Pearce as corner IF/OF depth, but that’ll cost a few pennies.

  • So now we can use the money saved on the closer – he will likely go of much less…

  • Twins win bidding to make a trade. NH goes super savvy and trades Taillon and Melancon for Park. Twins need pitching and definitely do not need another 1b. Maurer, Sano and Plouffe are quite enough to handle 3rd, 1b and DH.

    • Or they trade Plouffe.

    • Why the hell would we trade two players like Taillon and Melancon for a player we could have had if we bidded another 2 million? That is the most ridiculous idea ever

      • If deal is in place the bidding stops. Melancon is on trade block and if you think not you are naive. Taillon starting to become a injury problem. Open your mind, think like businessman and not a teenage girl with a crush.

  • This outcome is highly predictable. Park looks like he is better suited to be on an AL team. And since Mauer and Sano both are fragile, the Twins are a logical landing spot for him, too. Twins are trying to succeed in the same manner as the Blue Jays did this season. Who knows, it may work out for them.

    As for Pirates, I say nothing lost which can’t be overcome by our FO in the next few months via trade and FA signings.

    • Is Mauer now (after Arod’s return to decency) the most overpaid player in major league baseball?

      • If ever there was a reason to NOT sign Cutch to an extension, just look at what Mauer is being paid for his PAST production at a premier position he can no longer play, a batting average he can no longer hit, and power he only briefly had at all

  • Twins make sense…I guess. They have a DH (Sano) and they have a 1B…but maybe they will push Sano into the field.

    NOW, the interesting thing will be to find out if the Pirates even bid and how aggressively they bid.

  • I like what John D tweeted

    John Dreker @JohnDreker.
    If it helps, Ben Badler reported yesterday that Byung-ho Park looked awful in Cuba this week, 1-for-7 with 5 K’s vs some very poor pitching

  • Will we ever know what the Bucs bid was?

    • I see 0 reason for PGH to make that information public. You’ll get the standard GM quote when asked

      “We always due our homework on any player we feel can help us get better. We scouted him and had interest and placed a bid we felt was fair. We wish him the best in his career”.

    • I read it was around $10.5 million

  • Now that it’s official, NH can focus his attention on trading for Cody Ashe from the Phils – he’s a young guy with pop that will fit perfectly at 3b in the ‘burgh. Especially as a left handed hitter.
    Should be able to get him for any number of OF prospects.

  • First we lose Sano to the Twins, now Park… they’ve got our corner infielders!!!

  • As ive been saying, if he was LH id be much more intrigued. Just looking at the stat line, he looks like he’s going to K much more than Kang.

  • Seeing that the Twins got it? So they’d have Sano, Mauer, and Park? That doesn’t make much sense.

    • Sano to 3B, Plouffe on the market would make sense. Bit risky to give up a relatively cheap 2-3 WAR 3Bmen for the upside of Park, but could be big.

      That division isnt all that tough, so Twins make some sense. Lotta power in the middle of that order now

    • Sano at 3rd, Mauer at 1st, and Park DH

      • In 80 games last year, Sano only played the field 11 times! Nine at 3rd and 2 at 1st. I don’t think he’s much of a fielder.

        • Well he was recovering from Tommy John surgery…

          • True. I think the fact that he is listed at 6’4″ and 260# makes him an unlikely 3rd baseman.

            • Regardless of all that, he pretty much has to play a position now. Park+Mauer=1B and DH.

              They arent moving Sano at age 22 with his bat. So either play him at 3B and take some less than ideal defense, or (and this is a thing) throw him in the OF and pray he learns to play the OF without making fans laugh.

              • I guess it is the AL. You can just throw him in the field and hope you out-hit everyone.

              • They have Sano playing some Outfield now in Winter Ball Luke.

                • Which, to me, is hilariously dumb. Even if he does eventually become average, it wont be quickly.

                  Taking a 260 lbs guy whose never played the OF and going “try to learn this” seems pretty longshot stuff to me. His range is going to be awful.

              • Maybe 3b occasionally for a few years but the kid is gonna look like an NFL DE by the time he is 25.

        • He isn’t. Pretty much he is Pedro Alvarez but a better hitter. With his size at his age, a David Ortiz type career may be in his future.

          • Justification doesn’t actually support your argument, does it? Pedro Alvarez was an adequate Major League 3B until he forgot how to throw baseballs. Assuming Sano still knows how to do that – and is more athletic/six years younger – there’s not much reason to think that Sano doesn’t have a chance of playing 3B into his late-20s.

    • I bet they wish they didn’t have mauer.

  • Curious to see who won, I’m not that worried about not signing him, think he could be the Korean double of Pedro

  • Who are these sources… I don’t think it’s totally dead that the Pirates are out of it. The teams left don’t make sense.