Chan Ho Park hit his stride out of the pen for the Phillies in 2009 after spending most if his MLB career as an average starter. The biggest statistical change? A HR/9 of .54, well below his career average of 1.03. Owning a career HR/FB of 11.9%, Park only allowed 6.3% of fly balls to leave the yard in 2009. Part of the decrease is most likely owned to coming out of the pen. We know that relievers have more control over HR/FB% than starters who typically will allow 10.5% HR/FB. The other factor was a good bit of luck that will likely regress. Let's go back to the fact that he can reduce his HR/FB% coming out the pen. Moving to the band box that is the new Yankee Stadium as a right-hander will probably offset the advantage of coming out of the pen. The other issue for Park will be adjusting back to the American League. We saw firsthand just how difficult that adjustment was for Joe Nelson in 2009 when his FIP jumped from 3.45 to 5.65.
The Yankees signed Park for $1.2 million with possible incentives adding another $300k. This is basically what the Rays gave to Lance Cormier sans the incentives. Per Sherman, they are only looking at Park for a relief role. I was an advocate of the Rays pursuing Park for the right price. While I would probably prefer Park to Cormier for the Rays, I would rather see the Yankees have Park than Cormier due to the stadium issue and Cormier's greater grounder-inducing ability.