Well this came out of nowhere: The Yankees have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Chan Ho Park, pending a physical. He won’t compete for the fifth spot in the rotation — a competition which now appears to include five different pitchers — but he’s expected to be in the mix with the losers of that competition for the final spots in the bullpen, according to Mark Feinsand.
Park announced the deal himself at a press conference in Seoul, saying he had been leaning towards the Cubs, but “wanted to play for a champion-caliber team this year again.” According to Ben Shpigel, the Yankees pounced when Park’s price dropped: Park said he’ll receive $1.2 million in base salary, and up to $1.5 million in incentive bonuses. (The Phillies are believed to have offered about twice this much to re-sign him after last season, so swell job by Park’s agent there.) Basically, the Yankees bought him because he was on sale.
Park pitched okay enough last season — he posted a 2.52 ERA in 38 relief appearances, and pitched three-and-a-third scoreless innings against the Yankees in the World Series — but it raises a few questions: Don’t the Yankees already have enough candidates for the long man position? Also, wasn’t this team supposedly out of money just a couple of weeks ago? And if so, is it really worth going over budget for Park, and not for new Detroit Tiger Johnny Damon? Or does all of this just mean somebody’s getting traded before opening day?