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Published: Thursday, 1/15/2009

Tigers sign Rodney, Thames to contracts


DETROIT - Reliever Fernando Rodney agreed yesterday to a $2.7 million, one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers, who also struck a one-year deal with outfielder Marcus Thames worth $2,275,000.

Rodney emerged as Detroit's closer over the final two months of last season, appearing in 38 games and finishing with a career-high 13 saves, a 4.91 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 40

1-3 innings.

The 31-year-old has 33 saves and a 4.25 ERA in 235 career appearances.

Thames, also 31, hit .241 with 25 homers and 56 RBI in 103 games for Detroit last year. He has a .243 batting average with 86 home runs and 219 RBI in 398 games in five seasons with the Tigers.

Thames ranks fourth among AL players with a minimum of 1,000 plate appearances since the start of the 2006 season with a home run once every 13.52 at-bats.

INDIANS SIGN PITCHERS: Free agent pitchers Kirk Saarloos and Greg Aquino agreed to minor league contracts with the Cleveland Indians and were invited spring training.

Saarloos has a 29-30 career record with Houston, Cincinnati, and Oakland.

He spent most of last season at Triple-A Sacramento, going 9-4 with a 4.22 ERA in 22 starts. The 29-year-old pitcher also went 1-0 with a 5.47 ERA in eight games for the Athletics.

On Sept. 19, Saarloos struck out a career-high 11 against the Indians.

Aquino has made 135 relief appearances over five years with Arizona, Milwaukee, and Baltimore.

FIGGINS, ANGELS AGREE: The Los Angeles Angels avoided arbitration with versatile Chone Figgins by agreeing to a $5,775,000, one-year contract with the team's career stolen base leader.

Figgins, who turns 31 next week, hit .276 with one homer and 22 RBIs in 116 games with the Angels last season. He also stole a team-leading 34 bases, raising his career total to 238. His 223 steals since the beginning of the 2004 season are the second-most in the AL to Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford (238).

The switch-hitting Figgins has mostly played third base in recent years, but has also been used at second, short, and in the outfield.

He made his big-league debut with the Angels in 2002.

Four Angels remain eligible for file for arbitration today: shortstop Maicer Izturis, catcher Mike Napoli, third baseman Robb Quinlan, and right-hander Ervin Santana.

MOTA, DODGERS AGREE: Guillermo Mota and the Dodgers finalized a one-year, $2.35 million contract to bring the reliever back to Los Angeles.

"Guillermo is a power arm that can stabilize the back of our bullpen," general manager Ned Colletti said. "He's had plenty of success in L.A. before and we look forward to seeing that again."

The 35-year-old right-hander went 5-6 with one save and a 4.11 ERA in 58 games for Milwaukee last season, helping the Brewers win their first division championship in 26 years.

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