- Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies and free agent reliever Tom Gordon agreed to a three-year, $18-million contract Thursday night, according to a baseball official familiar with the negotiations.
The Yankees and another team, believed to be Texas, made a late run at signing Gordon. But when the Phillies offered to guarantee him a third year and allow him to go back to closing, that apparently sealed the deal.
Earlier in the day, according to a source, Gordon met personally with Phillies GM Pat Gillick, two days after he'd had lunch in Florida with manager Charlie Manuel.
Gordon, 38, served as Mariano Rivera's primary setup man in New York the past two seasons. He was 5-4 with a 2.57 ERA and two saves in 2005.
Over the last two seasons, Gordon has allowed just 6.08 hits per nine innings. Among relief pitchers who worked at least 140 innings, only two were more unhittable -- Francisco Rodriguez (5.71) and Joe Nathan (5.94). Among prominent closers who ranked behind Gordon: Brad Lidge (6.26), Rivera (6.59) and B.J. Ryan (6.75).
Gordon's agreement is pending a physical, and he is likely to
take one Saturday.
Gordon hasn't been a full-time closer since he saved 27 games for the Cubs in 2001. He had 12 saves in 66 games with the White Sox in 2003. Gordon had 46 saves and a 2.72 ERA in his best season in 1998 with the Red Sox.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.