Gordon agrees to $7.25 million deal

Updated: December 2, 2003, 4:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees moved to shore up their bullpen, agreeing Monday night with free-agent reliever Tom Gordon on a two-year, $7.25 million contract.

Replenishing their rotation also is one of New York's highest priorities, and according to a Newsday report the team has talked to the Dodgers about acquiring veteran right-hander Kevin Brown for beleaguered 27-year-old right-hander Jeff Weaver.

Brown turns 39 in March and will make $15 million in each of the next two seasons. The Yankees have been pursuing free agents Bartolo Colon and Javier Vazquez in the wake of Roger Clemens' retirement, Andy Pettitte's free agency, and their refusal to pick up David Wells' option. New York is trying to re-sign the left-handed Pettitte.

Gordon's deal was finalized after he passed a physical earlier in the day, a baseball source familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. "Flash" Gordon was 7-6 with a team-high 12 saves and a 3.16 ERA for the Chicago White Sox last season. The 36-year-old pitched in 66 games, striking out 91 in 74 innings.

After losing to the Florida Marlins in six games in the World Series, the Yankees again have prepared to pour resources into their bullpen.

The club also has been pursuing right-hander Paul Quantrill and is attempting to re-sign lefty Felix Heredia to further bolster the staff. The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday that two-year offers are on the table for both: $6 million for Quantrill and $3.5 million for Heredia. New York also is expected to re-sign lefty Gabe White, who was acquired from Cincinnati last July in the Aaron Boone trade.

General manager Brian Cashman was busy all of last season shuffling his bullpen. Heredia and Jesse Orosco also were acquired in midseason as set-up men for closer Mariano Rivera, and Jeff Nelson and Armando Benitez also were added to the mix. Steve Karsay was the right-handed prelude to Rivera but missed the entire year because of an injured right shoulder, and his return is not 100 percent certain.

Known for a knee-buckling curveball, Gordon has made a nifty comeback from injuries that threatened to end his career. He had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in December 1999 and spent the next 16 months rehabilitating.

Even after he recovered, Gordon was beset by injuries to his triceps and shoulder.

Gordon signed with the White Sox after pitching for the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros in 2002.

Gordon is 113-107 with 110 saves and a 4.07 ERA in a 15-year career that started with Kansas City. He was an All-Star in 1998, when he led the AL with 46 saves for Boston.

Tampa Bay, Oakland and the New York Mets were among the other teams that were interested in Gordon last month.

Gordon had thought about returning to a closer's role for next season, though he left open the possibility of being a setup man for two teams: the Philadelphia Phillies, with recently acquired Billy Wagner, and the Yankees.

Gordon reached the postseason twice in his career, with Boston in 1998 and 1999. He has never made it to the World Series.

Also Tuesday, the Yankees avoided arbitration with veteran Enrique Wilson, agreeing to a one-year contract with the veteran infielder.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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