The potential signing of Korean masher Byung-ho Park makes Miguel Sano's offseason even more interesting.
Last week, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said that Sano was going to start taking fly balls in the outfield during winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Ryan said that Sano will continue to play third base in games there, but they want him to get a feel for outfield work during batting practice. The real work with Sano will take place during spring training, when coaches will get their mitts on him.
``We have to see how he gets jumps, runs routes, throws, all that stuff,'' Ryan said last week.
From a physical standpoint, Sano should be able to play in the outfield. He runs well for a big man, is fairly agile and can throw. It takes, of course, more than that to be an outfielder. But the tools are there.
To help his cause, Sano is on a weight loss program this offseason. Word is that Sano finished the season weighing around 270 pounds and has a goal to report to camp around 250. His family is committed to cooking him healthy meals. And it sounds like one of his buddies has been tabbed to make sure he doesn't fall off his diet when he's not at home.
Even if the Twins don't land Park, it reveals some of their thinking this offseason. One, they know they need to boost the offense. Two, they aren't going to hand over starting spots to their prospects.
``A year ago, you and I were talking about how Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas were locks,'' Ryan said.
And we saw how that worked out. While it looks like the outfield should be Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Aaron Hicks, the Twins won't commit to that until they prove it during spring training. Eduardo "The Stick" Escobar is the leader at short going into spring training, the Twins say. But he's got to earn it. Sano moving to the outfield gives them options. Adding Park gives them options. There's nothing wrong with having options.
Other stuff
What is wrong with you people? My twitter feed blew up with, "Is this going to be another Nishioka deal?" Give the Twins credit for at least trying to get involved in different international markets. And Park is a totally different player than Nishi. Keep in mind the price of power in MLB. If Park can hit 25 homers, a start up cost of $12 million is worth the investment. Fellow Korean Jung-ho Kang made a successful transition to the majors last season, suggesting that Park can do the same thing,
Park and Sano together? That's going to be a LOT of strikeouts. But the Twins hope for a lot of homers and walks too.
Marty Mason and Tim Doherty will not be back as coaches at Class AAA Rochester next season. The Twins have not announced their minor league staffs for 2016, but it sounds like those departures will begin a chain reaction of moves throughout the farm system.
I communicated with a member of the Korean press yesterday. They are just as surprised that the Twins won the bid for Park as we are here.

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