Braves, Reitsma agree to $2.75 million deal

ATLANTA -- Relief pitcher Chris Reitsma and the Atlanta Braves avoided arbitration by agreeing Friday to a $2.75 million, one-year contract.

The Braves also agreed to minor league deals with two injury-plagued players, outfielder Brian Jordan and catcher Eddie Perez.

Reitsma was 3-6 with a 3.93 ERA and led the team with 15 saves last season, taking over as closer for several months after Dan Kolb was bounced from the job. Reitsma moved back to a more familiar setup role following the trade-deadline deal for Kyle Farnsworth.

Reitsma's new deal includes a $25,000 bonus if he finishes 40 games or $50,000 if he finishes 45. The right-hander pitched in 76 games last season and made a club-record 84 appearances in 2004, his first season with the Braves after being acquired from Cincinnati.

Even though Farnsworth left as a free agent and Atlanta was rebuffed in its efforts to sign a new closer at the winter meetings, Reitsma isn't considered a serious candidate to reclaim
the job. General manager John Schuerholz is still searching for someone to replace Farnsworth, who had 10 saves and a 1.98 ERA with the Braves.

Farnsworth signed a $17 million, three-year contract with the New York Yankees.

Reitsma, 28, made $1.65 million last year. His signing leaves the Braves with three players in arbitration: second baseman Marcus Giles and pitchers Horacio Ramirez and Jorge Sosa.

The Braves had faced a Sunday deadline for reaching deals Jordan and Perez. Jordan's new contract would pay him $700,000 if he makes the major league roster. There are no set financial terms for Perez if he plays for the Braves next season.

Jordan and Perez were offered -- and rejected -- arbitration with the Braves. Had they not agreed to a deal by Sunday, they would have been barred from signing with Atlanta until May 1.

The Braves already signed veteran catcher Todd Pratt to back up second-year player Brian McCann. The 37-year-old Perez had only one at-bat after injuring his shoulder on May 14 and was expected to retire, but has hinted that he might try to play one more season
after undergoing surgery.

Jordan, who will be 39 by opening day, was on the disabled list for almost two full months. He batted .247 with three homers and 24 RBI.