'Pen mightier: O's reach agreement with reliever Baez

Updated: November 27, 2006, 1:09 AM ET
Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Free-agent reliever Danys Baez and the Baltimore Orioles reached a preliminary agreement on a $19 million, three-year contract Sunday night, a move that further solidifies a bullpen that finished with the second-worst ERA in the major leagues last season.

Relief Pitcher
Atlanta Braves

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L BB K ERA
57 5 6 17 39 4.53

The deal is subject to Baez passing a physical, which was likely to be administered Monday, according to the pitcher's agent.

Baez went 5-6 with nine saves and a 4.53 ERA for the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers this year. The right-hander made the All-Star team in 2005 for Tampa Bay, going 5-4 with 41 saves and a 2.86 ERA.

"Danny is extremely excited about going back to the AL East," said Baez's agent, Greg Genske. "He's happy to be going back to the East Coast and playing in Baltimore."

The 29-year-old Baez was a closer with the Cleveland Indians in 2003 and Tampa Bay in 2004 and 2005. He will be a set-up man with the Orioles, who are committed to Chris Ray as their stopper.

Baltimore last week signed Jamie Walker, a left-handed reliever. The Orioles entered the offseason intent upon overhauling an erratic bullpen that was 19-25 with a 5.25 ERA and 35 saves in 56 opportunities.

Baez also was pursued by the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Indians, Genske said. The pitcher made $4 million in 2006.

Baez struggled this season after the Dodgers got him in a trade with Tampa Bay. He had nine saves in 16 tries with Los Angeles before being traded to the Braves in late July.

He went 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 games with the Braves before his season ended on Aug. 26 after an emergency appendectomy.

The agreement was first reported on The (Baltimore) Sun's Web site.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press