Chan Ho Park would like to return to being a starting pitcher. He's started 280 major league games, but just six over the last two seasons. The Phillies, who signed him to a one-year deal, will give him the opportunity to compete for a spot in the rotation next spring. If he fails to win a starting job, the Phillies may find him useful out of the bullpen.
Park spent 2008 with the Dodgers and posted a 3.40 ERA in 54 games - 49 of them out of the bullpen - posting somewhat of a career comeback for Park, who will be pitching in his 14th season in 2009.
In his career, Park has started 280 games and has a career mark of 112-85, 4.34 in those starts. Most of his success as a starter came early in his career. As a reliever, Park has pitched in 98 games and has a career 4.44 ERA out of the bullpen.
The Phillies need help in their starting rotation and are still negotiating with former Phillie Jamie Moyer, who won 16 games for the Phillies last season. As things stand right now, they would still have a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation, even if Moyer would re-sign, which is where Park would come in. Adam Eaton, J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick and possibly, Carlos Carrasco will all be competing for a spot in the rotation next spring.
Park signed a one-year deal that will give him a base salary of $2.5 million and potentially, another $2.5 million in incentives.
In a press conference in South Korea, where Park announced that he had chosen the Phillies, he admitted to having some initial reservations about pitching in Philadelphia. "I was a little worried about the Citizens Bank Park which is hitter-friendly," said Park. "But as they considered me a starter, I signed with Philadelphia." Other teams, notably the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Giants and Royals, had also contacted Park, but all were looking to him to pitch out of the bullpen.