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ChiSox sign Jenks for 1-year, $5.6M

1/19/2009 - MLB Bobby Jenks Chicago White Sox + more

The White Sox have signed closer Bobby Jenks to a record-setting one-year, $5.6 million contract.

The $5.6 million is the highest salary in history by a closer who was arbitration-eligible for the first time, at least for the moment. Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox is also arbitration-eligible for the first time, and there is widespread speculation that he will top that figure. The previous record was $5 million, by Eric Gagne in 2004, the year after his historic 55-save season for the Dodgers.

Jenks saved 30 games in 34 opportunities in 2008, but that was actually his career low in saves for a full season. He'd saved 41 and 40 games, respectively, the previous two years. He joined the White Sox in midseason in 2005 and became the closer for their World Series team but just missed qualifying for arbitration as a "Super 2" player last winter.

Senior writer Jayson Stark covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.