Tigers, Jones agree to one-year, $7M deal
Jones had 38 saves for the Tigers last season, a year after saving 37 games to help Detroit make the playoffs for the first time since 1987. He had four more in the postseason as the Tigers reached the World Series. He turns 40 in April.
"For us, he's done a quality job for the last couple years and for us, a real big need for him to come back and fill that closer role," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said.
Re-signing Jones became even more important for Detroit when hard-throwing reliever Joel Zumaya had shoulder surgery, costing him at least the first half of the 2008 season.
"Joel is going to be a real tough void to fill. You'll see how valuable he is by the amount of money that Dave has to commit to try to fill those spots," Jones said.
Earlier Monday, the Tigers acquired outfielder Jacque Jones from the Chicago Cubs for utility player Omar Infante. The Tigers also filled a major need two weeks ago, trading for All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria from Atlanta for two prospects.
"We've done a lot of things here already since the season ended," Dombrowski said. "Our No. 1 priority would be trying to get a starting pitcher. I'm not going to forget about the bullpen by any means, but with getting Todd back, at least I feel comfortable that we're solid out there."
Jones agreed that Detroit needs more pitching. Kenny Rogers is talking to the Tigers but also exploring other options.
"That's the Achilles' heel, it looks like now," Jones said. "Dave is going to get us a starting pitcher, and then he'll help us with the bullpen, and then we'll be set to go."
Jones, who lives in Georgia, said six or seven teams were interested in him, but not the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander, who has 301 saves and a 3.93 ERA over 15 seasons, isn't sure whether 2008 will be his last year.
"I just appreciate the Tigers, you know, letting me kick tires and letting me look around, and with no hard feelings," Jones said.
"We're aware of the bullpen," Dombrowski said. "I don't think it would be anything we would rush out and do immediately."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press