|Indians sign Westbrook to 3-year extension|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 13 April 2007 05:56|
Westbrook, one of the AL's most reliable pitchers the past three seasons, would have been eligible for free agency after this season, his seventh since coming to Cleveland in a trade with the New York Yankees.
Financial terms of the contract were not immediately available. The deal does not contain any options.
The Indians had hoped to work out a new contract with Westbrook during spring training, but were unable to complete a deal in Florida with agents for the 29-year-old right-hander.
When negotiations have broken down in the past, general manager Mark Shapiro has put off talks until after the season. This time, Shapiro didn't want to risk Westbrook hitting the market.
Westbrook has won 44 games the past three seasons. Since 2004, only Westbrook, teammate Cliff Lee, Minnesota's Johan Santana and Detroit's Kenny Rogers have won at least 14 games in each season.
Westbrook is also one of just eight starters to pitch at least 210 innings in the last three years. He went 15-10 last season, winning a major league-high eight games after Aug. 1.
He has a 56-53 career record with a 4.40 ERA. He was named an All-Star in 2004. Westbrook was acquired as part of a trade in 2000 when the Indians sent David Justice to the Yankees for Ricky Ledee.
Now that Westbrook is signed, the Indians can focus on possible new deals for designated hitter Travis Hafner and left-hander C.C. Sabathia.
The club holds a $4.75 million option for next season on Hafner, who hit 42 homers with 117 RBIs in 2006. Sabathia, the Indians' No. 1 starter, isn't eligible for free agency until after the '08 season when the left-hander figures to be among the most prized players available.
Shapiro had talks with representatives for both players during spring training.