He's one of those pitchers, who "uses their brain and not just their arm," said Pat Gillick in tossing a little barb Billy Wagner's way the other day.
For the past three seasons, Tom Gordon has been one of the more successful setup men in baseball, setting up one of the more successful closers in baseball. Now, he'll be the guy looking to be setup as he takes over as the Phillies' closer, replacing Wagner. The last time that Gordon worked as a team's closer was in 2001 when he saved 28 games for the Cubs. In 1998, he saved a career high 46 games as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Gordon was mulling offers from other clubs, including the Indians, Rangers and Tigers, but chose the Phillies because they guaranteed a third year on the deal and are giving him an opportunity to close games.
At the end of the deal with the Phillies, Gordon will be 41 and the Phillies hope that he will have added a substantial number of saves to his career total of 116.
Signing Gordon will cost the Phillies their first round pick in next June's draft. However, losing Wagner to the Mets brought the Phillies the Mets first round pick and a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. Switching Wagner for Gordon basically means that the Phillies still come out ahead, drafting 18th with the Mets pick instead of 21st with their own pick and still having a supplemental pick.
Also on Thursday, the Phillies signed catcher Sal Fasano to a one-year, $425,000 contract to serve as Mike Lieberthal's backup. The 34 year old Fasano played for Baltimore this past season, hitting .250 with 11 homeruns in 160 at bats.
With the additions of Gordon and Fasano, the Phillies roster stands at 40.