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Be wary of Byung-ho Park to Boston rumors

The Red Sox already have two potential starters at first base for 2015, so why are they being talked about as players for Byung-ho Park?

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Byung-ho Park was recently posted by his KBO team, meaning that it's open season on the Korean first baseman--or, at least, on the rights to sign him. As we approach November 9th, the date when the winning bid (if any) will be announced, the Red Sox are sure to pop up in the rumor mill quite a bit. After all, they've spent plenty of time scouting Park, and weren't trying to hide their interest in him earlier in the year.

It's tempting to think, then, that the Red Sox are ready to go all-in on Park and ditch Hanley Ramirez because, man, I think most Red Sox fans are hoping deep down that the shortstop-turned-left-fielder-turned-first-baseman will be someone else's problem in 2016. Having experienced the disaster that was Hanley in left field, Sox fans are wary of the disaster that might be Hanley at first base, and with Dave Dombrowski now in charge, it's not unrealistic to think the Red Sox might be willing to ditch what seems to be one of Ben Cherington's biggest mistakes as a sunk cost.

But a lot has happened between now and the time the Red Sox were showing serious interest in Park. Hanley Ramirez was not necessarily expected to end up at first base--all the Red Sox knew was that they had one more year of Mike Napoli, who had shown signs of decline in 2014. At the time, Travis Shaw didn't even look like a Quadruple-A player, while Sam Travis was a far-off future with fewer than 300 professional at bats to his name.

Make no mistake, the presence of Ramirez and Shaw do not guarantee that the Red Sox are out on Park. It's hard to justify spending a bunch on a first baseman when you've already got two options at the position, but those guys aren't Dave Dombrowski's guys, and frankly they're not reliable options either. Park, having never played in Major League Baseball, is also an uncertain proposition, but the success of former Nexen teammate Jung-ho Kang in Pittsburgh will go a long way towards giving KBO results credence with MLB decision makers.

Still, unless someone is reporting that the Red Sox are bidding and bidding seriously on Byung-ho Park, Red Sox fans should take rumors surrounding the first baseman with an even bigger grain of salt than usual. Yes, the Red Sox have shown plenty of interest in him, but times change, as do circumstances. If the Red Sox are still clearly in need of an answer at first, they have two more potential answers than they expected to have by this point. Adding a third before they're even certain they can rid themselves of Hanley Ramirez would be a risky proposition indeed.