The St. Louis Cardinals made a move to fortify their left-handed bullpen corps Thursday by signing veteran reliever Dennys Reyes to a two-year contract totaling $3 million, with an additional $500,000 in bonus opportunity.
Reyes, 31, was a member of the Minnesota Twins the past three seasons (2006-08) and compiled a 3-0 mark with a 2.33 ERA in a career-high 75 games in 2008 to lead American League left-handers. He held opposing left-handed batters to a .202 batting average in 2008, and his opponents batted just .235 overall against him.
"We've had nearly a month to evaluate our club," said Cardinals' Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. "With a month still remaining before Opening Day, we feel that Reyes is someone who immediately helps us fill a need for added bullpen depth."
A veteran of 10-plus seasons, the 6-foot-1, 242-pounder joins his tenth organization with the Cardinals. The Mexican native has compiled a career mark of 32-32 with a 4.28 ERA in 535 games, including 40 starts with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati, Colorado, Texas, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Kansas City, San Diego and Minnesota.
With Minnesota, Reyes posted a 2.14 ERA (126.1 IP/30 ER), ranking first among all Major League left-handed relievers during that three-year span. He was 10-1 with 41 holds as a member of the Twins and was paid $1 million in each of the last two seasons.
The Twins had offered arbitration to the Type B free agent, but Reyes declined. As a result of his signing, the Cardinals did not lose a draft pick, but Minnesota receives an extra, supplemental selection between the first and second rounds of the June 2009 draft.
Reyes is currently playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Mexico opens tournament play on Sunday, March 8 in Mexico City against Australia.
In this signing, the Cardinals are hoping for better luck with a Mexican left-handed reliever competing in the WBC. In 2006, Ricardo Rincon suffered a shoulder injury blamed on the WBC which effectively led the Cards to eat $2.9 million for his two-year deal.
When he arrives in camp, Reyes is expected to step to the front of the line for the second left-handed relief role in the Cardinals pen. The other competitors are Charlie Manning, claimed off waivers from Washington last November, Royce Ring, a castoff from the Atlanta Braves, Ian Ostlund, a minor league free agent from the Detroit Tigers system and Katsuhiko Maekawa, who had a tryout with the Nats two years ago.
With the signing, the Cardinals' 40-man roster currently sits at 35.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
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