Doosan Bears sign ex-MLB slugger Jorge Cantu

SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) -- The Doosan Bears announced on Monday they've acquired former Major League Baseball (MLB) slugger Jorge Cantu.

The Seoul-based Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club said they signed the 31-year-old infielder for US$250,000 for next season, along with a signing bonus of $50,000.

Cantu becomes the first position player from overseas to join a KBO club since 2011. Teams here are allowed two foreign players each -- with an exception for the expansion team the NC Dinos, who can have three foreign players in their first two seasons -- and they've filled their quotas with pitchers the past two seasons.

Cantu is an eight-year MLB veteran who made his debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2004. He belted 28 home runs and drove in a career-best 117 runs in 2005, along with a .286 batting average.

With the Florida (now Miami) Marlins in 2008, Cantu established a new career-best with 29 home runs, while putting up 95 RBIs and a .277 average.

For his career, Cantu had 104 home runs and 476 RBIs and batted .271 in 847 games.

In the majors, Cantu played every infield position, but primarily played third base. He spent the 2013 season with the Quintana Roo Tigers in the Mexican League, considered on par with Triple-A ball in the U.S. minor league system. He also smacked 31 home runs along with 71 RBIs in 83 games.

The Bears said they see him as a corner infielder who could produce some pop from the heart of the order.

The Bears finished the runner-up to the Samsung Lions in the Korean Series this year, blowing a 3-1 series lead. They lost their slugging first baseman Choi Jun-seok via free agency, while veteran third baseman Kim Dong-joo, who has 273 career home runs in 16 seasons with the Bears, reportedly fell out of favor with the management and didn't see any action after May 17.

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