December 2, 2015 / 12:21 AM / 2 years ago

Twins sign Korean slugger Park to four-year deal

(Reuters) - South Korean slugger Park Byung-ho is joining Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins after the team said on Tuesday that they had agreed to terms on a four-year, $12 million contract.

South Korea's Park Byung-ho hits a three-run homer off Brooks Pounders of the U.S. in the fourth inning of the final match at the Premier12 international baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, November 21, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

The Twins, who also hold a club option for 2020, won the rights to negotiate with the first baseman three weeks ago with a $12.85 million bid to Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization.

Park joins a power-hungry Twins team that has not finished better than 10th in home runs in the 15-team American League since 2010.

The 29-year-old Park batted .343 (181-for-528) this season - his 10th in the KBO - while leading the league with 53 home runs and 146 runs batted in.

That eye-popping season capped off a remarkable four-year stretch that included 173 home runs, 492 RBI, 48 stolen bases and a .314 batting average.

His aggressiveness, however, came at a cost with 510 strikeouts in that four-year stretch, including 161 strikeouts over 528 at-bats this season.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue

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