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Kim Dong-joo re-signs with Doosan Bears

Veteran third baseman Kim Dong-joo, the last remaining free agent in the top local baseball league, re-signed with his original club on Monday.

The Doosan Bears in the Korea Baseball Organization said they have signed Kim to a three-year deal that will pay him 700 million won ($605,000) per season. The 35-year-old will also receive 500 million won in signing bonus and 200 million won in incentives.

Kim has spent his entire 14-year career with the Seoul-based Bears.

“I am happy to remain with Doosan,” Kim said through the team.

“I’d like to thank the club for recognizing my value. This will be the last contract of my career and I will try my best to end it on a good note.”

Kim’s earlier negotiations with the Bears broke down last month, with Kim reportedly demanding a three-year deal and the team only willing to give him a two-year contract with a third year as a club option.

Kim sought to sign with another KBO team but no one showed interest in the aging and brittle player. Kim returned to the table with Doosan on Dec. 23.

Kim was the last of the 17 free agents to ink a deal this offseason.

The deadline for any player to sign a contract is Jan. 15. Players not signed by then would have been ruled ineligible to play in 2012.

Kim burst onto the scene with 24 home runs and 89 RBIs in his rookie year in 1998, and became one of the league’s premier sluggers over the ensuing seasons.

He has enjoyed six 20-homer seasons, but the oft-injured infielder has never played a full season in his career. Last year, he batted .286 and hit 17 homers, both his worst since 2006.

The 2003 batting champion has a career average of .310 with 270 home runs and 1,061 RBIs. 

(Yonhap News)