2-time KBO MVP Park Byung-ho asks club for trade

 Park Byung-ho rounds the base after hitting a home run during a game with Kia Tigers at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field, in Gwangju, ApriI 30. Yonahp

Two-time Korean baseball MVP Park Byung-ho has asked his club, KT Wiz, to trade him, sources familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

Park, 37, is in the final season of his three-year, 3 billion-won ($2.2 million) contract, which he signed as a free agent following the 2021 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season.

Per sources, Park has not been pleased with reduced playing time this season and has asked the management to ship him so he could find a new home. Though he has played in 44 of the Wiz’s 52 games this season, Park was in the starting lineup in only 23 of them.

The first baseman is batting .198/.331/.307 with three home runs and 10 RBIs this season. Since he became an everyday player while with the Nexen (currently Kiwoom) Heroes in 2012, Park has never failed to reach double figures in home runs. His lowest slugging percentage in that period is .430 from the 2021 season, his final year with the Heroes.

After the Heroes opted not to bring Park back following that disappointing year, the Wiz extended him a lifeline with a three-year deal. Park responded by leading the KBO with 35 home runs and ranking third overall with a .559 slugging percentage.

Park’s numbers dipped across the board in 2023, however, with 18 home runs and a .443 slugging percentage.

So far this year, Park has already grounded into eight double plays despite playing in a limited role, compared with nine double plays last season in 132 games.

Park has led the KBO in home runs six times, more than anyone in league history. He was voted the regular season MVP in 2014 and 2015, after launching 52 카지노사이트킹 home runs and then 53 home runs. Park is the only KBO player ever to post back-to-back 50-homer campaigns. He also had a brief stint with the Minnesota Twins in Major League Baseball.

Amid extended hitting slumps and nagging injuries this season, Park has been usurped by Moon Sang-chul both at first base and in the middle of the Wiz’s lineup.

An official with the Wiz acknowledged that Park had “expressed some disappointment” with his lack of playing time of late.

“He has given us so much over the past couple of years,” the official said. “We will try to find the best possible solution.”

The Wiz removed Park from their active roster Sunday due to lower back issues. Sources said Park had first asked the Wiz to release him even before being taken off the roster.

Before taking on the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Tuesday evening, the Wiz ranked seventh in the KBO at 23-28-1 (wins-losses-ties). They are riding a three-game winning streak.

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