8:52am: Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweets that the White Sox aren’t the winner, either. That leaves the Brewers and Twins in addition to the Cubs and Reds, though the latter duo doesn’t have much of a spot for Park to play (unless Cincinnati feels he can handle left field). Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported last week that the Twins have scouted Park quite a bit, though the Brewers seem to be a better fit from a roster standpoint, in my eyes.
8:37am: Heyman also eliminates the Rockies and the Phillies from the mix (via Twitter). That leaves the Brewers, Reds, Cubs, White Sox and Twins as the remaining options. As I noted before, the presence of Joey Votto in Cincinnati and Anthony Rizzo on the Cubs’ roster makes that pair of NL teams seem like long shots, to say the least. The White Sox and Twins each have long-term first base options in Jose Abreu and Joe Mauer, though Park could certainly split time at first and DH with either player.
8:22am: The Astros didn’t submit the winning bid for Park, either, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
NOV. 9, 7:29am: We’re down to seven possibilities on the mystery team for Park, as ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link) and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel (Twitter link) report that the Pirates have not won the bidding.
There have been reports eliminating all but seven teams from the Park bidding, leaving the Phillies, Brewers, Reds, Cubs, White Sox, Twins and Astros as possibilities. And while the Reds and Cubs are technically possibilities, it’d be surprising to see either NL club post the winning bid on a first baseman, given the stars that each has entrenched at that position. The Rockies haven’t been completely ruled out, though the report below seems to indicate they’re more of a long shot than anything else at this point.
Alan Nero, Park’s agent at Octagon, tells Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that even he does not yet know which club won the bidding, adding that both league offices were closed over the weekend (Twitter link).
NOV. 8, 9:51pm: The winning bid wasn’t posted by the Royals or Braves, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter links). “It’s safe to assume” the Rays didn’t have the winning bid either, the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin tweets.
9:10pm: The Athletics and Marlins also didn’t have the top bid, Heyman tweets.
7:24pm: The Mariners and Diamondbacks didn’t place bids on Park, as per tweets from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman and Zach Buchanan of AZCentral.com. Also, the Giants can be eliminated from contention, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Rockies might also be out, as MLB.com’s Thomas Harding doesn’t “think anything is happening there.”
2:39pm: Italian artist Michelangelo is famously misquoted as saying that he sculpted the historic David statue by chipping away the parts that did not look like David. Perhaps that is how we will whittle down the field of suitors for first baseman Byung-Ho Park until we unravel the mystery team that submitted the winning bid to negotiate with the Korean star. Failing that, we might just have to wait until Monday, when the announcement is formally made.
On Friday, Korea’s Nexen Heroes accepted a $12.85MM bid on the rights to negotiate a big league contract with Park. As of today, we still don’t know which MLB club won the posting process, but one team out there now has a thirty day window with which to hammer out a deal with one of the winter’s most intriguing and mysterious free agents.
The Blue Jays are not the winning team, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter), and the winning bid was not submitted by the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, or Angels, either (link), The Cardinals, who are looking at various first base options, tendered an unsuccessful bid for the 29-year-old, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. James Wagner of the Washington Post (on Twitter) heard that the Nats did not have interest. Late last week, the Indians, Tigers, Rangers, Orioles, Padres, and Red Sox were also crossed off the list by various reporters.
If Park and his new club do not reach agreement on a contract, Nexen will lose out on the posting fee and the winning team will have to move on to a Plan B at first base. The reported $12.85MM fell shy of the $25MM+ posting amount commanded by lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, but it easily tops what the Pirates paid Nexen last year (~$5MM) for the rights to reach a deal with infielder Jung-Ho Kang. After the team-to-team transfer was arrived at, Kang and the Bucs agreed to a four-year, $11MM guarantee.
In the recently-released list of MLBTR’s top fifty free agents, Tim Dierkes predicted that Park would command a $10MM posting fee and a five-year, $40MM contract from the winning team. The first part of that was close, but it remains to be seen how negotiations will proceed.