Nine different Twins talent evaluators saw Byung-ho Park in person before the team submitted its $12.85MM bid earlier this offseason, Minnesota vice president of personnel Mike Radcliff tells David Dorsey of the News-Press Media Group. Radcliff himself was among those who watched Park personally in South Korea, having been to Korea in four of the past six seasons, per Dorsey. “It’s a different style,” said Radcliff of Korean baseball. “They swing hard and often over there. There’s a transition. … But we think his swing is Americanized, if you will. He has less movement in his body, from head to toe. He will see velocities he hasn’t seen much of before. But we think the transition will be good, if you will. There just aren’t too many situations to compare him to.”
Here’s more on the Twins and their division…
- The Twins continue to poke around the trade market for left-handed relief help and like Brewers left-hander Will Smith quite a bit, reports 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson in his latest podcast (audio link, with Twins talk firing up around the 37:45 mark). There’s certainly no indication that Milwaukee is looking to move Smith, although as this winter’s Ken Giles trade showed, moving a controllable relief arm can certainly bolster a farm system in a hurry. The Twins have no shortage of minor league talent that could entice the Brewers, though GM Terry Ryan recently spoke about a number of in-house options that intrigue him as lefty options in the bullpen, calling out Taylor Rogers and J.T. Chargois by name.
- The Indians have shuffled their Latin American Operations department, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. After an “amicable” split between the organization and former Latin American director Ramon Pena, the Indians have promoted Koby Perez to that post and made a series of subsequent promotions. Previously, Pena had overseen all Latin American scouting, player development and operations, but those responsibilities will be spread out among different officials now, Hoynes continues. Hoynes spoke to Cleveland president of baseball operations about the team’s approach in Latin America and how the Indians plan to leverage their player development resources in that sphere.
- Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has begun taking no-contact swings, writes MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Brantley, who underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder back in November and was said to have a recovery timeline of five to six months, reported to camp early and will need to progress to hitting off a tee and eventually taking batting practice before he’s ready for in-game action, Bastian writes. Bastian spoke to GM Mike Chernoff and hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo about Brantley’s progress and the possibility of a swifter-than-expected return. “…knowing him and his makeup and how hard he works, and our training staff, how diligent they are, I’m pleased, but I wouldn’t say I’m surprised [by his progress],” said Van Burkleo.
- Right-hander Michael Fulmer, the key piece received by the Tigers in July’s Yoenis Cespedes trade, is viewed by the organization as a starter but could factor into the team’s bullpen in 2016, writes Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey are locks for the rotation, with lefty Daniel Norris favored to land the fifth spot, but manager Brad Ausmus was open to the idea of Fulmer in a relief role this year. “Realistically, if he were to make the club, he would probably be a reliever,” Ausmus told Fenech. “If he were not to make the club, he would probably be a starter. … You have enough time in spring training that even if he’s coming out of the pen right now in big league camp, there will be a point where if you think he’s going to be a starter in Toledo, we can make the switch and get his innings up before the start of the season.”