Park Hyo-jun leaves Atlanta’s Triple-A team, becomes a free agent, faces decision to stay in U.S. or return home

Hyo-Jun Park, 27, a former player for the Atlanta Braves Triple-A team in Major League Baseball (MLB), has become a free agent.

Atlanta’s Triple-A team, the Gwinnett Strikers, announced at 6 a.m. local time that Park has been released from the team and will become a free agent. The team decided that it could not afford to keep Park on the 40-man roster this year and next, so he left without a major league contract.

As a result, Park is now free to sign with any team in Korea or abroad. However, because he went straight to the U.S. after high school, he must serve a two-year grace period before returning to the KBO. He hasn’t resolved his military issues yet, so if he returns to South Korea, he’ll have to do his military service first.

It is unclear if Park will remain in the United States. In 101 games and 389 at-bats at Triple-A this season, Park hit .262 with six home runs, 42 RBIs, 16 doubles, and an OPS of 0.764. It’s not a bad record, but it does seem a bit lackluster for a big league contract.

Even last offseason, he was designated for assignment (DFA) by his original team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, then traded to the Boston Red Sox, only to be DFA’d again, traded to his current team, Atlanta, and then DFA’d, leaving him without major league status and playing all season in the minors. He needed to dominate in Triple-A to earn a big league call-up, but unfortunately, he wasn’t quite there.

However, Park has the versatility to play a variety of positions. This season, he’s played the most games in right field (53) due to team needs, but he’s also played second and third base, his natural position.

He has also played every position in the major leagues up until last year, including second base, third base, shortstop, left field, center field, and right field, except first base 토토 and catcher. If a team is in need of a utility player, they might reach out to Park.

Turning 28 next year, the time is coming for Park to make a choice, whether to pursue one more big league challenge or return to Korea.

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