Free agent pitcher Park Chan-ho speaks during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. The 35-year-old said that he had signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. / Yonhap
By Kang Seung-woo
Free agent pitcher Park Chan-ho has found a new team in the World Series champions Philadelphia Phillies.
In a press conference in Seoul Monday, the 35-year-old right-hander said he had been signed to a one-year deal by the National League (NL) East division team.
The deal is worth $2.5 million and he will be awarded bonuses up to $5 million according to his performance.
``Five teams have contacted me so far, and the Phillies made the biggest efforts among them,'' Park said.
Those teams are the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies.
``I selected Philadelphia because they are the World Series Champions and have high expectations for a playoff berth next season.''
Park, who has made it clear that he wants to be a starting pitcher, said the Phillies only viewed him as a starter.
``I was a little worried about the Citizen Bank Park, the home of the Phillies, which is hitter-friendly, but as they considered me as a starter, I signed with Philadelphia,'' he said.
The agreement saw the Phillies become Park's fifth team in his 15-year big league career following the Los Angles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres and New York Mets.
His signing was already expected as Yahoo Sports reported Park was close to signing with the Phillies last week.
Park, the first South Korean export to the U.S. Major Leagues, resurrected his career with the Dodgers last season as a reliever, going 4-4 with 3.40 ERA in 54 appearances.
But he proved he still has some fuel left in his tank with strong performances in his five starts this year. In those outings, he delivered 25 innings and allowed six runs with a 2.16 ERA.
As the Phillies is still working to re-sign with 22-year veteran Jamie Moyer, who went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 2008, and have Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Brett Myers in their rotation, Park has to compete with young pitchers, such as Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ and Carlos Carrasco, for the fifth spot.
Kendrick, however, has been mentioned in a three- of four-way trade that includes San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy.
His new team has a strong bullpen, comprised of Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson and closer Brad Lidge, who was perfect on 41 save opportunities during the regular season.
Philadelphia also has best left-handed hitters Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. They combined for 81 homers and 250 RBIs last season.
The Phillies was established in 1883 and have won the World Series twice in 1980 and 2008.
Park will fly to the United States to take a physical in January.