Urbina will be set-up man -- or dealt

Updated: November 19, 2004, 10:59 AM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Free agent Troy Percival and the Detroit Tigers agreed Wednesday to a $12 million, two-year contract, a move that will lead to Ugueth Urbina becoming a set-up man or getting traded.

Troy Percival
Percival

Percival, 35, was 2-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 33 saves last season with Anaheim. The Angels made no attempt to re-sign him and plan to use Francisco Rodriguez as their closer in 2005.

Percival was fourth in the AL in saves, reaching 30 for the seventh straight season, the longest streak by an active pitcher.

"We're extremely pleased to have a person of his makeup and his ability to bolster the bullpen," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said.

Coming off a $21.25 million, three-year deal that paid him $7.5 million in 2004, Percival gets $6 million in each of the next two seasons. He thinks Detroit can win the AL Central next season.

"They've got the players to do it and they've got the commitment from the owner to do it," he said.

On Nov. 5, Detroit exercised a $4 million option on Urbina, who was 4-6 with a 4.50 ERA and 21 saves in his first season with Detroit. He left the team for the season after his mother was kidnapped Sept. 1 in Venezuela.

Urbina was ninth in the AL with 21 saves and is 39-43 with a 3.42 ERA and 227 saves in 10 seasons.

Dombrowski recalled how Urbina was the set-up man in Florida and mentioned a trade as a possibility.

"I don't know where that's going to go," Dombrowski said. "We'll have to see."

Percival arrived Monday, met the following morning with Tigers manager Alan Trammell, special assistant Al Kaline and owner Mike Ilitch, then took a physical.

"It has been nothing but a positive experience," said Percival, who had meetings scheduled with several other teams. "That's why it happened so quick."

Percival made his decision to sign with Detroit on Tuesday night while dining with Dombrowski and his staff.

"My steak was coming, and I was hungry," the pitcher joked.

Percival had been with the Angels for his entire 10-year career. He's 12th on the career list with 316 saves and has a 29-38 record.

"I'm looking forward to coming here and making Detroit baseball what it used to be," Percival said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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