Tribe locks up Dellucci, Borowski
Indians complete pair of expected deals at Winter Meetings
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Indians completed a pair of expected deals Wednesday morning, signing one former Phillie and one near-Phillie.Outfielder David Dellucci, last of the Phillies, was signed to a three-year, $11.5 million contract that was first reported more than a week ago. Right-handed reliever Joe Borowski, whose failed physical with the Phillies last week negated a two-year contract agreement with Philadelphia, was signed to a one-year, $4 million deal. It includes a club option for 2008. The Borowski signing addresses the club's most pressing need -- late-inning bullpen help. Based on the current composition of the relief corps, he'd be the early favorite to take over the closer's job, though the Indians, who are in pursuit of Eric Gagne, Octavio Dotel and Keith Foulke, might not be done acquiring ninth-inning options. Borowski, 35, was one of the more successful closers on the market, but he's also an injury risk. In 2006, Borowski saved a career-high 36 games in 43 opportunities for the Marlins. Along the way, he put up a 3.75 ERA in 72 appearances. But while Borowski proved durable during the year, it's been reported that he was experiencing discomfort in his shoulder in the second half. He missed most of 2004 with a partial tear in his right rotator cuff and about two months of '05 with a fractured right forearm. Given the medical report on Borowski, the Phillies didn't feel comfortable offering him a multiyear deal. But Philadelphia was still in the running to give Borowski a one-year contract until Tuesday, when he took a physical in Cleveland. Borowski's career has included stints with the Orioles, Braves, Yankees, Cubs and Devil Rays, as well as a year in the independent Northern League and the Mexican League. His 33 saves for the Cubs in 2003 helped lead the team to the NLCS. Because the Marlins did not offer Borowski arbitration, the Indians won't lose any draft picks for signing him. That's not the case with Dellucci, who will cost the Tribe a second-round pick in the 2007 draft. Last weekend's signing of Roberto Hernandez will result in the loss of a third-round selection.
The signing of Dellucci was expected to be completed last week, but the 33-year-old came down with the flu and couldn't make it to Cleveland for his physical until Tuesday. Dellucci, a left-handed batter, is expected to get regular starts in left field, though Jason Michaels could see time at the position against left-handed pitching. Dellucci batted .292 with 13 homers and 39 RBIs in 132 games with the Phillies in '06. He spent the previous two years with the Rangers, where he was more of an everyday player in 2005, batting .251 with 29 homers and 65 RBIs. He was traded to Philly at the end of Spring Training this year for right-hander Robinson Tejada and infielder Jake Blalock. Dellucci won a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001. His 10-year career has also included roles with the Yankees and Orioles.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.