ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - The Texas Rangers signed All-Star closer Francisco Cordero to an $8 million, two-year extension on Thursday, avoiding the
chance of arbitration this offseason and keeping him off the free-agent market the following winter.
Cordero, who is making $2 million this season, received a $250,000 signing bonus for autographing a contract that will pay him $3.75 million next
season and $4 million in 2006, said agent Bean Stringfellow. The Rangers also have an option for 2007 that calls for a $6 million salary if he's still
the closer and $5 million if he's not. If Texas doesn't pick up the option, Cordero would get a $500,000 buyout.
Stringfellow hailed the deal as "better than what's been going for closers. They came to us and we've been exploring it for the last month,"
Stringfellow said. "Security was a big deal to him."
The Rangers called an afternoon news conference to announce the deal. Team officials also were expected to address the status of assistant general
manager Grady Fuson, whose future has been in limbo since team owner Tom Hicks said recently Fuson won't be promoted to GM next season.
Cordero's late-inning success has been a big reason why the Rangers were leading the AL West going into Thursday night's game against Oakland. A
hard-throwing right-hander known as "Coco," Cordero went into the game with 30 saves in 32 chances. He's 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA, having allowed only 30
hits in 43 1/3 innings while striking out 48 and walking 20.
He made the All-Star team earlier this month, an impressive feat for someone in his first season in the role.
"It's been an unbelievable season, not only for me, but the whole team," he said recently.
Cordero came to the Rangers from Detroit in November 1999 as part of the nine-player trade involving Juan Gonzalez. Only 22 at the time, he was viewed
as having closer's stuff. His ascent was derailed in 2001 by a back injury that limited him to just three games. He had 25 saves over the last two
seasons, when the Rangers owned last place in the division and had one of the worst bullpens in baseball.