Park agrees to one-year deal with Phils
Veteran pitcher could compete for fifth spot in starting rotation
PHILADELPHIA -- Setting up what could become a heated battle for their final rotation spot, the Phillies on Monday signed yet another player with starting pitching credentials. Chan Ho Park has agreed in principle to a one-year deal, contingent upon a physical.
"He creates depth for us," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "And that's what we're looking for."
Park, 35, produced a 4-4 record and a 3.40 ERA last season with the Dodgers, mainly as a reliever. In five starts, he was 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA, lowering his career ERA as a starter to 4.34. The Phillies last saw him during the National League Championship Series, when he pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings over four relief appearances.
Park will join J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick and Carlos Carrasco in a competition for the fifth starter's role.
"He'll be in that mix," manager Charlie Manuel said. "But we've also seen him pitch out of the bullpen, and I think he can throw multiple innings. We'll find his best role, and if his best role fits in the rotation, of course, that might be where he lands."
The deal is worth $2.5 million with performance bonuses that could push it to $5 million, according to an early report out of the Korea Times.
Ever since winning 75 games with the Dodgers from 1997 to 2001, Park's numbers have declined. He bounced from the Rangers to the Padres, Mets and back to the Dodgers, winning 37 games over that seven-year span. Discounting last season, which he spent almost exclusively as a reliever, he has posted an ERA better than 5.46 just once during that span.
Yet his success with the Dodgers has revitalized his career, prompting the Giants, Diamondbacks, Royals, Blue Jays and Phillies to pursue him this offseason, according to the Times.
"Five teams contacted me, and the Phillies made the biggest efforts among them," Park told the Times. "I selected Philadelphia because they are the World Series champions and have high expectations for a playoff berth next season."
The Phillies made another move on Monday, officially re-signing starter Jamie Moyer to a two-year deal. Moyer, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and Joe Blanton will all start the season in the rotation, limiting Park's chances to do the same.
Yet more troublesome for Park might be the move to Citizens Bank Park, where he has allowed five runs and 12 hits in nine career innings.
"I was a little worried about Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Phillies, which is hitter-friendly," Park told the Times. "But as they considered me a starter, I signed with Philadelphia."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.