Baez, Phillies reach two-year agreement

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking to shore up the back of their bullpen, the Philadelphia Phillies finalized a $5.25 million, two-year contract with reliever Danys Baez on Tuesday.

A 32-year-old right-hander, Baez was 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 59 games with Baltimore last year, holding batters to a .222 average. He has 114 saves in seven major league seasons.

Baez could be used as a setup man along with Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero, and he's a potential option as a closer if Brad Lidge struggles again.

Lidge led the majors with 11 blown saves last year, but Philadelphia won its second straight NL pennant.

"We're really pleased. In a lot of ways, he's a perfect fit," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "His stuff had gotten better and back closer to where he was in the past when he was closing. He's a great competitor."

Baez saved 96 games from 2003-05 with Cleveland and Tampa Bay, then missed the 2008 season following elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Lidge had 31 saves last year but was 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA.

"I saw a lot of them during the playoffs. I knew they needed help in the bullpen," Baez said at a Citizens Bank Park news conference. "My plan isn't to take anybody's job or anything like that, I just want to be in the playoffs."

Lidge's troubles last year followed his stellar 2008 season, when he was perfect in 48 save chances -- including the postseason -- while helping the Phillies win the World Series.

Baez, who defected from Cuba in 1999 and signed with the Indians, has a 35-49 career record with a 4.04 ERA. He gets $2.5 million this year and $2.75 million in 2011.

In addition to the Indians, Rays and Orioles, Baez has also pitched for the Dodgers and Braves.


Left-hander Jamie Moyer is scheduled to undergo a right knee arthroscopy Monday. Amaro does not expect him to be ready by Opening Day. Amaro's next step might be to sign back-of-the-rotation insurance. He has talked to representatives for free-agent right-handers Chien-Ming Wang and Ben Sheets. ... The addition of Baez means there's little chance the Phillies will bring back RHP Chan Ho Park, Amaro said. Park was 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 games last season.