DALLAS, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A day after jettisoning Rick Helling and three other players, the Texas Rangers appear to be on the verge of signing Chan Ho Park, the best starting pitcher on the free agent market.
The Dallas Morning News reported Friday that the Rangers are nearing agreement with Park on a five-year contract worth about $65 million.
The Rangers appeared to have the inside track on Park since his agent is Scott Boras, who landed a record-breaking 10-year, $252 million contract for shortstop Alex Rodriguez from Texas owner Tom Hicks last offseason.
Park, 28, provides a much-needed ace for a Rangers' pitching staff that was the worst in baseball last year.
The Korean righthander went 15-11 with a 3.50 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, leading the team in wins, games started (35), innings pitched (234), strikeouts (218) and opponent batting average (.216).
Park played his first full major league season with the Dodgers in 1996 and has a lifetime record of 80-54 with nine complete games and two shutouts. His best season came in 2000 when he went 18-10 with a 3.27 ERA.
The Rangers opted not to offer a contract to Helling, Texas' opening day starter in 2001 who went 12-11 with a 5.17 ERA in 34 starts, to clear some payroll for Park. Helling went 20-7 for the Rangers in 1998.
Texas also decided not to offer contracts to injury-plagued pitcher Justin Thompson, outfielder Ricky Ledee and infielder Scott Sheldon on Thursday.
Hart also made major changes to the bullpen, adding John Rocker, Jay Powell and Todd Van Poppel.