Reds re-sign Weathers to two-year deal
Reliever led Cincinnati in saves and games finished in 2006
Anticipated since the start of the Winter Meetings last week, the Reds and reliever David Weathers made official his new two-year, $5 million contract to return to the club.In a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster, starting pitcher Brandon Claussen was designated for assignment. While leading the club with 12 saves in 67 games, Weathers was 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA. After he endured a rough early summer as the closer, he thrived during the second half -- mainly in a setup role. The 37-year-old had a strong 1.64 ERA over his final 29 appearances. The deal had been imminent for over a week. "It was just a matter of working out the contract language," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "It was nothing unusual." Weathers' agent, Dan Horwits, said last week that Weathers was passing on more lucrative offers from other clubs to return to Cincinnati. Horwits said the right-hander liked the team's direction and he wanted to be close to his hometown of Loretto, Tenn. It's been a financially opportune offseason for veteran relievers around baseball and Weathers was no exception. After he made $1.5 million in 2006, his 2007 salary will jump to $2.25 million and $2.75 million in 2008. He can earn an additional $800,000 in the final year of the contract if he finishes 65 games next season. Reds manager Jerry Narron said last week that if the season started now, he planned to have Weathers sharing the ninth inning with new acquisition Mike Stanton. The left-handed Stanton was signed as a free agent to a two-year, $5.5 million deal in November. "We feel good about adding Stanton and Weathers, who are experienced guys and very durable," Krivsky said. "They have experience at the end of the game. They will give Jerry some good options in our bullpen, and they're guys that know what it takes to win."
Claussen was 3-8 with a 6.19 ERA in 14 starts in 2006, but did not throw another pitch after a left shoulder injury put him on the disabled list on June 17.Later diagnosed with a small rotator cuff tear, the 27-year-old Claussen had arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 14 and had been rehabilitating. "That was tough thing," Krivsky said of taking Claussen off the big league roster. "When you're at 41, you have a tough decision to make on who's the guy. After talking it over, we decided to go this route." Claussen came to Reds from the Yankees in a 2003 trade for Aaron Boone. Following what was viewed as a respectable 2005 season when he went 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA, he was expected to take a step forward this past season. But the left-hander frustrated the club by not being more aggressive in the strike zone with hitters. It appeared likely that Claussen would not be tendered a contract at Tuesday's midnight deadline. If he becomes a free agent, the Reds might invite him to Spring Training as a non-roster player under a Minor League contract.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.