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Indians Indians Archive Indians Sign Joe Borowski
Written by Rich Swerbinsky

Rich Swerbinsky
The Indians added another piece to their 2007 bullpen today, signing Joe Borowski to a one year deal worth 4.25 million, with a 4 million dollar club option for 2008. As things presently stand, Borowski is the front runner to be the teams closer this season. However, the Indians are said to still be in talks with Keith Foulke, Eric Gagne, and Octavio Dotel as well.  The Tribe added another piece to their 2007 bullpen on Wednesday, inking former Cub and Marlin closer Joe Borowski to a one year deal worth 4.25 million dollars.  The Indians also have a club option for 2008 at 4 million bucks, with a $250,000 buyout option as an alternative.

As things stand presently, Borowski is the front runner to close games for the team this coming season.  However, all indications point to the Indians adding one more veteran arm to the bullpen mix.  The team is still in talks with the agents for Eric Gagne, Keith Foulke, and Octavio Dotel.  All three are previously dominant closers who have all experienced injury problems over the course of the last couple seasons.  Should one of those three be added, they would likely compete with Borowski for the closers role in spring training.

The 35 year old Borowski is clearly a health risk.  He was set to sign a two year deal with Philadelphia last week to become the set up man to Phillies closer Tom Gordon, but the team did not like the looks of tests performed on his right shoulder.  The Indians, offering just one year of guaranteed money, had their doctors look at Borowski, and obviously felt comfortable with what they saw.

When healthy, Borowski has been a very effective relief pitcher, and a reliable closer.  Last year he saved 36 games for the upstart Marlins, striking out 64 batters in 69 innings, and finishing with an ERA of 3.75.  Borowski also closed games for the Cubs off and on during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, slamming the door 42 times in 48 chances, while striking out a batter an inning.

This is the third relief pitcher the Indians have signed in free agency, as the team signed Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Fultz to deals this weekend.  Hernandez will vie for an 8th inning role for the team, while Fultz is expected to assume the "Scott Sauerbeck situational lefty role" in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.  If he can stay off the disabled list, Borowski will either close, or be the main setup man for one of the other three back end bullpen guys that the Indians are talking to.

Rumors also persist that the Tribe is shopping Jake Westbrook, who enters the final year of his contract this season, and is likely to command big bucks in free agency at seasons end.  The Indians are said to be looking for a bullpen arm and alternative to Jhonny Peralta at shortstop in exchange for Westbrook.  If the Indians were to make such a deal, they would be forced to either move Fausto Carmona into the rotation, or possibly sign a free agent starting pitcher to assume Westbrook's spot in the starting rotation.

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