D-backs Finalize Deal with Gordon

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed right-handed pitcher Tom Gordon to a one-year contract, as announced by general manager Josh Byrnes. Gordon will make a base salary of $500,000 and can make an additional $2 million in roster bonuses.

Tom Gordon pitched in 34 games out of the bullpen last season for the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, going 5-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 29.2 innings with two saves, 17 walks, and 26 strikeouts. He did not allow a run in 24 of his 34 appearances and tossed 11.2 scoreless innings in 12 appearances from April 17th-May 13th. Gordon's season ended after being placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 6th with right elbow inflammation.  Gordon worked to rehabilitate the elbow rather than undergo Tommy John surgery.

Uncertainty around the elbow prompted the club to be cautious about awarding Gordon guaranteed money.  The Diamondbacks do not offer incentive clauses as their official policy, but have substituted roster bonuses in the past as a workaround.  Gordon's $500,000 contract stays true to this policy.

"We are pleased to add Tom to our bullpen mix," said Byrnes. "He will improve our depth. His experience pitching in key roles for winning teams was also important to us."

Gordon, 41, has a career record of 138-125 with 159 saves and a 3.94 ERA in 2,106.1 innings pitched over 887 games in parts of 20 major league seasons. He has spent time with the Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, and Phillies.

Gordon was a National League All-Star in 2006 with the Phillies and an American League All-Star in 1998 and 2004 with the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively. He won the 1998 American League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award after leading the league with 46 saves. The 46 saves were part of a then-major league record 54 straight saves, overlapping the 1998-99 seasons. Gordon is the only player in major league history to have recorded at least 100 wins, saves, and holds.  He figures to slot in as an 8th-inning pitcher to set up Chad Qualls, but could assume closing duties should Qualls falter at any point.

Want to write for FutureBacks.com?  FutureBacks is now opening internships for the upcoming 2009 season.  If you live near one of the six Diamondbacks minor league affiliates, know baseball, and have a writing background, send your resume and two sample pieces of writing (at least one of which must be a journalistic piece about baseball) to future_backs@yahoo.com.   Applicants must be able to attend a minimum of two games per homestand, and students looking for course credit must get approval from their instructors. 


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