SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants bolstered their
starting rotation when they agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year
contract with right-hander Brett Tomko.
Tomko will make $1.2 million next season with a chance to earn
$250,000 in performance bonuses. The deal contains a 2005 club
option worth $2.5 million plus any performances earned, and he
would get a $300,000 buyout if the option is declined. If it's
exercised, he would be able to earn another $250,000 in performance
Tomko, who had a physical Friday before flying home to San
Diego, could be the No. 4 starter for the defending NL West
champions behind Jason Schmidt, Kirk Rueter and Jerome Williams.
The 6-foot-4 Tomko bounced back after a rough start with St.
Louis last season to finish 13-9 with a 5.28 ERA, matching his
career high for wins. He was 8-3 with a 4.57 ERA after the All-Star
break and second on the Cardinals in victories, starts (32) and
innings (202 2-3), trailing only All-Star Woody Williams in each
"I'm just excited to be a Giant now and get this thing
underway," said Tomko, who was anxious to find a team with spring
training just more than a month away. "I think it's the whole
package. It's a great situation for myself and for my family. I'm a
West Coast boy and grew up in California. It's close to home and
it's a great team that'd you'd have to look at as a division
contender. It's a great place to pitch and it's a great ballpark."
Giants general manager Brian Sabean had been following Tomko for
several years as someone the club might want to target. When last
season ended, Tomko told his agent he was interested in going to
San Francisco if he couldn't return to the Cardinals. They didn't
offer him salary arbitration.
Tomko also had interest from Cleveland, San Diego, Tampa Bay and
The Giants like his durability. The 30-year-old Tomko, who joins
his fifth major league team, has pitched 400-plus innings in the
past two seasons.
"It's tough to find," Sabean said. "From a player personnel
standpoint, this was an easy decision. In our minds he has age,
ability and recent durability."
With Schmidt coming off right elbow surgery, the Giants want to
make sure they have a starter they can count on every fifth day.
Schmidt is the team's ace and is expected to be ready to go by
April, but Sabean isn't counting on it.
So, Tomko provides some much-needed depth.
He has missed one start in a seven-year career that began with
Cincinnati in 1997.
"It's something I pride myself in," he said. "I take the ball
every fifth day."