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Reitsma Signs with Mariners

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It was announced today that the Mariners have signed former Braves' reliever Chris Reitsma to a $2.05 million, one-year contract with a club option for a second year, the details:

[Reitsma] gets $1.35 million this year. He can earn additional bonuses based on appearances and games finished. Seattle has a $2.7 million option for 2008 with a $700,000 buyout.

All without having thrown a pitch in half a year. He made $2.75 million last year.

Not bad at all for a pitcher coming off a series of bizarre injuries including numbness in his pitching hand - injuries that have been lingering since late in 2005. This will bring up an interesting player watch for Braves and Mariners fans as Reitsma now becomes the primary setup man for Mariners' closer J.J. Putz, replacing...you guessed it...Rafael Soriano whom we acquired from Seattle last month. Essentially the Braves and M's have swapped setup men this off-season. So we will be keeping an eye on the differences between the two as the '07 season progresses. Here's the take from the Mariner's blog, Lookout Landing:

There were cheaper options out there, but knowing what we know about this [front office], there was very little chance that they would've taken a cheap risk when they could've paid a little more for someone with some name recognition. Would I have signed him to the deal he got, no. But there were much worse options available.

He's not going to replace Rafael Soriano in the bullpen, but at $2.05 million in 2007, he's got a good chance at possibly being the best free agent signing Bavasi made this offseason. Which makes me wonder if that illustrates Reitsma's possible potential or just how bad this offseason has been.

The real gamble that the M's are making is that Chris won't totally suck this year. If he is anywhere near as serviceable as he was in 04/early 05 then they can pick up his option for 2008 at the bargain price of $2.7 million. Considering the explosion in relief pitchers' salaries this off-season, Reitsma might turn out to be a real steal this year and next, and if not then you only have to pay him for a year.