Angels sign closer Brian Fuentes

The Los Angeles Angels found their replacement for Felix Rodriguez at closer in former Rockies’ reliever Brian Fuentes, who signed a two-year, $17.5 million contract with the Halos.

The 33-year-old Fuentes was a three-time NL All-Star. The lefty was 1-5 with 30 saves in 34 chances and a 2.73 ERA for Colorado this season and then became a free agent. He struck out 82 in 62 2-3 innings.

Rodriguez posted 62 saves for the Angels this season to break Bobby Thigpen’s single-season record of 57. K-Rod signed a three-year, $37 million contract with the New York Mets three weeks ago.
Fuentes could serve as the Angels’ closer or as a setup man for either Scot Shields or Jose Arrendondo. Fuentes has a 17-27 career record with 115 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 438 appearances for the Seattle Mariners and Rockies.

Fuentes left the Rockies as their all-time career saves leader. He also finished as Colorado’s all-time leader in strikeouts by a reliever.

He became the third free agent to return to the Angels this offseason, joining left-handed reliever Darren Oliver, who accepted salary arbitration, and outfielder Juan Rivera, who signed a three-year, $12.75 million contract.

The Angels also give up their first-round pick with this signing, but they had already picked up first-rounders form the Mets and Yankees, as well as two supplemental picks, so that isn’t a huge blow.

With Scott Shields, Justin Speier and Darren Oliver already on the roster, the addition of Fuentes gives the Halos a solid bullpen.

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