Corpas gets longest contract ever given to Rockies reliever
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Manny Corpas has wasted little time making his mark in the majors.
After only a half season as their closer, Corpas agreed Thursday to an $8,025,000, four-year contract with the Colorado Rockies that could be worth up to $22,775,000, including escalators and team options for 2012 and 2013.
The 25-year-old Panamanian right-hander replaced three-time All-Star Brian Fuentes as Colorado's closer last season. He played an integral role in the club's first World Series berth, where the Rockies lost to the Boston Red Sox.
After earning the closer job on July 7, Corpas saved 19 of 20 games and went 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA, the lowest by a reliever in club history. He starred in the playoffs, going 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA in nine appearances.
There's no precedent for a reliever with just over a year's service time in the major leagues receiving a deal of this magnitude. Any hesitation on the club's part, however, was erased by Corpas' performance in the playoffs, where he recorded five saves and held hitters to a .167 batting average.
"As we see it, there's relievers that can close games and there's relievers that can close big games," assistant general manager Bill Geivett said. "It's a great day for our club and for Manny."
Corpas, who was signed by the Rockies as a 16-year-old in 1999, is among the first wave of players to graduate from the Rockies' fledgling Latin American program. He made his first big league appearance on July 18, 2006, and is 5-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 113 career appearances, including 78 last season.
The 2012 club option would cover Corpas' final year of arbitration and the '13 option would cover his first year of free agency.
"Manny won't change," said Tom O'Connell, his Tampa, Fla.-based agent. "He knows Brian Fuentes, a three-time All-Star, had one bad week and lost his job. Manny's going to keep doing what he's been doing."
Corpas broached the idea of a long-term deal after the World Series.
"He saw the opportunity that the club gave him, trusted in him and he did a good job. He didn't expect that opportunity when he got it. And he wanted security for his family," said Rolando Fernandez, the Rockies' director of Latin American operations, interpreting for Corpas, who spoke mostly in Spanish.
"He said of course it feels good to sign and have the money, but he said what feels good is to be able to compete and continue to help his family, that's probably the best thing."
Corpas' deal, which includes $1 million in possible escalators, is the longest signed by a Rockies reliever and came six weeks after shortstop Troy Tulowitzki agreed to a $31 million, six-year contract.
"I think ownership realizes that we have some pretty special players," Tulowitzki said. "Manny's a pretty special pitcher, so I'm happy to be around him for at least the next four years."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press