Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Hey, here’s a long thing I just wrote that got blown up by subsequent reports. Yay for rumor and transaction season!

For fun, here’s everything I wrote, now scratched out (some of it, generically, is still useful), followed by what appears to be true.

Well, now we’ll see if the Pirates got another big-time Korean star whose abilities translate well to MLB, or whether Jung-Ho Kang was simply exceptional.

A year after winning the bidding for Kang, who was unquestionably flat-out-very-good in his MLB debut in 2015, the Pirates pulled the trigger again on a KBO star, reportedly winning the bidding for first baseman Byung-Ho Park:

The winning bid for Park was a healthy $12.85 million, and now the Pirates will have 30 days to work out a contract, which could be upwards of another $20 to $30 million. For the Pirates, this will probably be a sizable chunk of their offseason spending.

But, again, if Park translates to MLB the way Kang did, it’ll be a steal. Park, 29, became a full-timer in the KBO four years ago, and he’s put up silly numbers since. His OPS in those seasons: .954, 1.039, 1.119, 1.150. Kang’s numbers started to approach similar territory before he made the jump, and he was a very good big league bat this year (.816 OPS, 130 wRC+). He did that in the middle infield, though, so Park would almost have to put up similar numbers to have value at first base.

The Pirates will presumably give Park a good long look at first, given the expenditure, and perhaps they’ll even now shop Pedro Alvarez, whom they’ve seemed to want to replace for a long time anyway. There’s also top prospect Josh Bell, whose bat is just about big league ready, but whose glove is probably going to be limited to first base. Maybe he now becomes a big trade chip for the Pirates to snag an arm.

Having Kang already in the fold probably helped bump up the Pirates’ bid slightly, knowing that it could help make Park more comfortable in his transition, and knowing that they already had an infrastructure in place – whatever it may be – to help transition a KBO star to the big leagues.

This is a risk for the Pirates, to be sure, but it’s a good risk. Grumble.

UPDATE: Nooooope:

And, so now we continue to wonder which team won the rights. Most of the league has been eliminated, and though the Cubs are technically one of the seven un-eliminated teams, I think you can rule them out.

UPDATE: Buster Olney hears it *might* be the A’s:

But Jon Heyman reported this last night:

The offseason is just a week old, and we’re already into conflicting rumors, mystery teams, and oopsie reports. Hooray!

UPDATE: Not the A’s:

Also, I no longer care that Park is not a fit for the Cubs. I want them to get him:

UPDATE: Chipping away:

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