Weaver, Mariners close in on one-year deal for $8.3M

Updated: January 27, 2007, 1:35 PM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Jeff Weaver and the Seattle Mariners have just about finalized a one-year contract worth $8,325,000 -- the same salary he had last year.

Jeff Weaver
Weaver

Only minor details remain for the deal to be worked out, a person familiar with the negotiations said Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been completed.

The 30-year-old right-hander, who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win their first World Series title since 1982, probably will take a physical early next week.

In addition to his base salary, Weaver would be able to earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses: $300,000 each for 180 innings or 28 starts, and 190 innings or 30 starts, and $400,000 for 200 innings or 32 starts.

Weaver has made 240 starts over eight major league seasons -- 34 each in 2004 and 2005, and 31 last year.

Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi has said Seattle wanted to add a free-agent pitcher.

"No, we're not done," he said Wednesday.

St. Louis had been hoping to re-sign Weaver, who won three games during the postseason. Pittsburgh was also thought to be interested.

Weaver was 3-10 with a 6.29 ERA when the Los Angeles Angels designated him for assignment on June 30, then traded him to the Cardinals five days later. He was 5-4 with a 5.18 ERA with the Cardinals, but starred during the postseason. He was 1-1 in the World Series against Detroit, getting the victory in the Game 5 clincher by allowing two runs -- one earned -- and five hits in eight innings.

He would join a Seattle rotation with three new starters. The Mariners, coming off three straight last-place finishes in the AL West, have a slimmed-down Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn returning.

Horacio Ramirez was acquired in a trade with Atlanta for setup reliever Rafael Soriano. And Miguel Batista, an 11-game winner with Arizona last season, agreed to a $25 million, three-year contract last month.

The Mariners also are bringing back Arthur Rhodes. The 37-year-old left-hander agreed Thursday to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

"You can never have too much left-handed pitching in the bullpen. Since I've been here, we've never had the bullpen as balanced as we would like," said Bavasi, who took the job in 2003. "We fully expect him to be on the club. If his stuff was the same as it was last year, he'll be more than fine here."

Bavasi said Rhodes will likely fill a variety of bullpen roles, from middle and long relief to setting up closer J.J. Putz.

Before the talks with Weaver, Seattle had been contemplating several candidates to be its fifth starter: Cha-Sueng Baek, a Triple-A callup whose season ended last September due to elbow tendinitis, converted reliever Jake Woods and Ryan Feierabend, a veteran of 24 days in the major leagues.

Three starters from 2006's opening-day roster are long gone. Jamie Moyer was traded to Philadelphia last summer. Joel Pineiro signed as a free agent with Boston and Gil Meche signed with Kansas City.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press