Lions sign Albert Suarez on one-year, $1-million contract
The Samsung Lions announced Tuesday that they have acquired former major leaguer Albert Suarez on a one-year deal worth up to $1 million.
The 32-year-old pitcher will earn $700,000 in guaranteed salary, $100,000 as a signing bonus and an additional $200,000 in incentives.
Suarez joins the Lions after playing the last three seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. He is the second player from the NPB to sign a KBO contract for next year, after the SSG Landers signed outfielder Kevin Cron from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp on Sunday.
Suarez joined the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2006, but didn't make his major league debut until 2016 with the San Francisco Giants. He appeared in 40 games throughout 2016 and 2017, ending his MLB career with three wins, eight losses and a 4.51 ERA.
Suarez has appeared in 40 games with the Swallows in the NPB, picking up 10 wins and eight losses with a 3.00 ERA. The Swallows won Japan's championship title this year, with Suarez pitching in relief during the Japan Series.
The Lions are the third club to sign a foreign player so far this offseason, following the Landers with Cron and the KT Wiz with outfielder Henry Ramos. All three players signed contracts valued at the league-maximum $1 million.
Each KBO club is permitted to sign three foreign players, with a maximum of two foreign pitchers. In practice, most teams generally opt for the maximum two pitchers with a slugger to round out the selection. All foreign players play on one-year contracts, so clubs still have to renegotiate with last season's stars if they want them to return next year.
The Lions have already made it clear that they will not seek a new contract with pitcher Mike Montgomery, who was suspended at the end of the season after an altercation with an umpire, but are likely still trying to reach a deal to bring back pitcher David Buchanan.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]