Angels sign closer Fuentes

By Doug Padilla
Staff Writer

On the last day of 2008, the Angels appropriately finished off the year by adding a closer.

Left-hander Brian Fuentes, who has saved 30 games in three of the last four seasons, will take over the closer role left vacated when Francisco Rodriguez signed with the New York Mets in December.

The Angels signed the 33-year-old Fuentes to a two-year deal worth a reported $17.5 million. The contract will pay Fuentes $8.5 million for the upcoming season and $9 million in 2010. There is also a $9 million team option for 2011 that will vest if he finishes 55 games in 2010.

Fuentes, 33, had a career-best 2.73 ERA last season with the Colorado Rockies with exactly 30 saves and just four blown opportunities. He finished the year by converting his last 17 save opportunities, the second longest active streak in baseball behind Brad Lidge’s 41-save streak with the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Obviously this strengthens our bullpen in a significant way with Brian, Scot Shields, Jose Arredondo, Kevin Jepsen, Justin Speier and Darren Oliver,” general manager Tony Reagins said. “It gives us depth and the opportunity to shorten games on the opposition”

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Bye-bye K-Rod; hello Manny?

Somebody might want to adjust those odds on Francisco Rodriguez returning to the Angels. Owner Arte Moreno used the airwaves of his own radio station on Wednesday to let it be known that negotiations with Rodriguez have not been going well for over a year now. Looks like the Angels will have a new closer in 2009.

Moreno also said he would be interested in adding Manny Ramirez to the fold. To paraphrase what Moreno had to say: Manny’s good. Why wouldn’t the Angels be interested?

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Bet on it: K-Rod to return

We still aren’t sure how the Francisco Rodriguez contract negotiations will go, but the betting website seems to think that K-Rod will be back with the Angels next season. They have him as an overwhelming 2-to-5 favorite to return to the Angels bullpen.

Not that we’re into plugging websites or condoning gambling for that matter, but they had an interesting take. Here are the other teams that could land Rodriguez and their odds of getting him:

Tigers 5/1

Mets 6/1

Indians 6/1

Other 3/1

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