When the offseason opened, Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes were the best free-agent closers on the market. K-Rod left Anaheim for Flushing and $37 million in Met money, so the Angels just dropped down to No. 2 on the list and signed Fuentes.
It's a two-year deal with a club option for a third for Fuentes. He posted 30 saves, his third time notching at least that many, to go with a 2.73 ERA in Colorado last season and converted his final 17 opportunities of the season. Fuentes stands 6-foot-4 and throws left-handed, which means the ninth inning will have a very different look than it did when Rodriguez was setting the single-season saves record.
The financial details haven't been released, but this is a bit of a head-scratcher for the Halos. Fuentes is a fine pitcher, but they have more pressing needs in the lineup now that Mark Teixeira has also left town for the bright lights of the Big Apple. Scot Shields or Jose Arrendondo could have filled the closer role for less money than Fuentes. If the desire for a brand-name closer exists and Fuentes' money winds up approaching $12 million per, why not just re-sign K-Rod?
That said, the bullpen in Anaheim is looking sound as a pound. The question now is if the lineup and rotation can hand them enough leads to make it worthwhile.
UPDATE:Buster Olney reports it is a two-year, $17.5 million deal with a $9 million option. At those prices Fuentes is a true bargain and the deal looks much better for the Angels.