Late Thursday night, the Phillies signed Tom Gordon to a 3-year contract worth $18 million. The team evidently sealed the deal Thursday afternoon when it guaranteed the third year--a step Gordon's former employer in the Bronx evidently was unwilling to take. Texas and Cleveland also were in the bidding for the 38 year-old reliever.
The Associated Press reports that Gordon will make $4.5 million in 2006, $7 million in 2007, and $5.5 million in 2008. The Phils have a 2009 option on Gordon's services for $4.5 million, or can buy out that year for $1 million. GM Pat Gillick said of the contract, "The market dictated you had to go further than you wanted to go."
(In other news, We finally filled a BINGO square!!)
Not exactly what I was hoping for, but the deal certainly could have been worse. Gillick was hellbent on getting a "proven closer" and so we were pretty much down to Gordon, Trevor Hoffman, or a trade for someone like Danys Baez. I don't care for Baez, and between Gordon and Hoffman, I like Gordon more, and that's even before factoring in the larger salary Hoffman will likely get.
It's more likely than not that Gordon will be a metaphorical pantload to the bullpen by the third year of his contract. If the new regime recognizes the concept of a sunk cost and relegates him to a lesser role before too much damage is done, the club can probably get by. Especially if they take the opportunity to use the next couple seasons to groom our Very Own Closer (the first since Ricky Bottalico or Wayne Gomes ::shudder::, depending on how you're counting). Yes, Phillies, you're actually allowed to have a closer who comes from your own farm system! Robinson Tejeda, perhaps? Maybe the very delicate but very nasty Cole Hamels?