Disgruntled KT Wiz slugger Park Byung-ho traded to Samsung Lions

Park Byung-ho of the KT Wiz hits a home run against the Kia Tigers during a Korea Baseball Organization regular-season game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, April 30. Yonhap

The KT Wiz traded their disgruntled slugger Park Byung-ho to the Samsung Lions on Tuesday, hours after his demand for release became public.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club announced the trade of the 37-year-old first baseman following their 12-3 victory over the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. In exchange, the Wiz received first baseman Oh Jae-il.

During a pregame media scrum, Wiz manager Lee Kang-chul had confirmed earlier media reports that Park had asked for a way out of the Wiz. Sources familiar with the situation had said Park, the Wiz’s primary first baseman and cleanup hitter since joining them in 2022, was unhappy about reduced playing time this season and had asked the team as early as April to put him on waivers or trade him.

Park was batting only .198/.331/.307 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 44 games this season. Park was in the starting lineup in only 23 of those 44 games, while Moon Sang-chul started getting the bulk of opportunities at first base and in the cleanup spot.

Moon set a career high with five RBIs in Tuesday’s win.

Park won the KBO regular season MVP awards in 2012 and 2013 while with the Nexen (currently Kiwoom) Heroes. Then in 2014 and 2015, Park smacked 52 and 53 home runs. He remains the only KBO player with consecutive 50-homer seasons.

Park has won a KBO-record six home run titles.

The Wiz took Park off their active roster on Sunday due to lower back problems, but Park did not report to the minor league affiliate for a rehab stint, choosing instead to follow his own treatment program.

Park began his career with the LG Twins but blossomed into a feared slugger after a trade to the Heroes during the 2011 season. Park also had a cup of coffee with the Minnesota Twins in Major League Baseball in 2015.

After the 2021 season, in which Park only hit .227 and slugged .430, his lowest mark since the trade from the LG Twins, the Heroes 토토 chose not to retain him as a free agent. The Wiz pounced and gave Park a three-year deal worth 3 billion won ($2.2 million).

Park made the Wiz front office look smart by leading the KBO with 35 home runs in 2022, but he only managed 18 homers last year before his production fell even further this year.

Oh, also 37, has been on the downslope of his career lately, too. The left-handed slugger only had 11 home runs and 54 RBIs with a .203/.302/.356 line last year — all of them his worst numbers since becoming an everyday player as a Doosan Bear in 2016.

Oh entered Tuesday’s game batting a meager .222 in 21 games, with only two homers and seven RBIs. He spent over a month in the minors while mired in an early-season slump. He smacked a solo home run during Tuesday’s game against the Kiwoom Heroes.

Oh became expendable with the arrival of American first baseman David MacKinnon this season. Numbers show that Oh’s solid defense at first base has taken a significant step back this year on limited opportunities.

The next meeting between the Wiz and the Lions will be June 28 in the Wiz’s home of Suwon, some 30 kilometers south of Seoul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *