The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization announced last night they’ve re-signed all three of their foreign-born players (h/t to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). Right-handers David Buchanan and Albert Suarez and outfielder José Pirela all inked new deals for the 2023 campaign.
All three players have prior MLB experience. Buchanan made 35 starts for the Phillies from 2014-15, posting a 5.01 ERA. He spent three seasons in Japan and has now played three years in South Korea, working to a 3.45 ERA or lower each year. Buchanan provided the Lions 160 frames of 3.04 ERA ball this past season. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted last night the 33-year-old righty was drawing some attention from MLB teams but decided to return to Daegu for a fourth season. He’ll make $1.6MM, according to the team announcement.
Suarez played for the Giants in 2016-17. He posted a 4.51 ERA in 115 2/3 innings for San Francisco. By 2019, he’d made the jump to Asia. Like Buchanan, he first went to Japan. After three seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, he signed with the Lions in 2022. His first season in the KBO was a resounding success, as he posted a 2.49 ERA over 173 2/3 innings while starting 29 of 30 outings. The Venezuelan-born righty will return for a second season on a $1.3MM salary.
Pirela, who’ll make $1.7MM, is the highest-paid of the trio. He also started in NPB before making the move to South Korea for the 2021 campaign. The right-handed hitter has played two seasons for the Lions, combining for an excellent .314/.384/.528 line in over 1200 plate appearances. That includes a massive .342/.411/.565 showing in 141 games this past season. A Venezuela native, the 33-year-old Pirela played in 302 MLB games between 2014-19. He suited up with the Yankees, Padres and Phillies and hit .257/.308/.392 in the majors.