Samsung Lions Secure Former MLB and NPB Player David MacKinnon

SEOUL - The Samsung Lions, a prominent team in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), announced on Friday the acquisition of David MacKinnon, a former infielder with experience in both Major League Baseball (MLB) and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). This new addition to their roster comes as part of the team's strategy to strengthen their lineup for the upcoming season.

According to Yonhap News Agency, MacKinnon, aged 29, has been signed to a one-year contract valued at US$1 million, which is the maximum amount permissible for first-year foreign players in the KBO. The contract also includes a $100,000 signing bonus. MacKinnon, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 32nd round in 2017, debuted in MLB with the Angels in 2022. Despite being waived later that year and subsequently joining the Oakland Athletics, he managed to play 22 games in the season, batting .140 with six RBIs.

MacKinnon also brings valuable experience from his time in Japan, where he played for the Saitama Seibu Lions during the 2023 season. In his tenure with the NPB club, he recorded a .259 batting average with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs across 127 games.

The Lions highlighted MacKinnon's versatility in defense, noting his ability to play both first and third base. Additionally, his minor league career included positions like second base, shortstop, and left field.

MacKinnon will be stepping into the role vacated by Jose Pirela in the Samsung lineup. KBO teams, under league rules, are allowed up to three foreign players, typically comprising two pitchers and one position player. The Lions are also in discussions to retain their ace pitcher David Buchanan for a fifth season but have opted not to renew Taylor Widener's contract for 2024.

Pirela, whom MacKinnon replaces, experienced a drop in performance in 2023, batting .285 with 16 home runs and 80 RBIs, a decrease from his .342 average, 28 home runs, and 109 RBIs in 2022.

This signing marks MacKinnon as the second player from the 2023 Seibu Lions to join a KBO team recently, following pitcher Dietrich Enns' move to the LG Twins.

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