Even as he wrapped up a disappointing stint in the Dominican Winter League, the Twins' Chris Colabello had a rare opportunity to ply his craft on the other side of the world. Despite strong interest from the 10-team Korean Baseball Organization, the independent-league survivor decided he wasn't ready to give up his dream of becoming a major league regular. "Obviously there were some rumblings over the past month, but right now Chris is focused on hopefully playing for the Minnesota Twins," Brian Charles of Big League Management Company said Saturday of his client. "Things are always subject to change, but Chris made it clear he wants to help the Minnesota Twins." The South Korea-based LG Twins reportedly had been in talks with the Minnesota Twins about a contract buyout for Colabello, a 30-year-old first baseman/outfielder who hit a combined 31 home runs last season between Triple-A Rochester and the majors. Charles would not comment on the particulars of Colabello's opportunity in South Korea, but a person with direct knowledge said Colabello turned down a "significant offer" from a KBO team other than the LG Twins. That offer came about a week ago and would have paid Colabello close to $1 million in 2014 salary, the person with direct knowledge said. The Minnesota Twins would have received a similar buyout sum, one that another person with direct knowledge termed "higher than normal." The San Francisco Giants reportedly received a $500,000 buyout for Triple-A first baseman/outfielder Brett Pill from the KIA Tigers. Pill agreed to terms with KIA on Friday night, according to MyKBO.net. Players must approve the transfer of the contracts to overseas leagues. Charles, who represents more than 25 professional baseball players, said he had been in recent contact with Twins general manager Terry Ryan regarding Colabello's future. "The last time I spoke to Terry, it seemed like at that point it wasn't going to happen," Charles said of a Korean buyout. "Everything is subject to change in this industry, but the Minnesota Twins -- not the LG Twins -- is where Chris is planning to play." Colabello, with a slugging percentage of just .190 for Toros del Este this winter, is due to return home to Massachusetts on Monday. The Twins purchased his contract from the Worcester (Mass.) Tornadoes for roughly $1,000 after the 2011 season, his seventh straight year dominating the competition in the independent Canadian-American Association.
Chris Colabello draws interest from Korean-league teams
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Dec 21