D-backs sign Gordon to one-year deal
Right-hander says he is close to 100 percent after elbow procedure
PHOENIX -- The D-backs fortified their bullpen by signing Tom Gordon to a one-year contract on Friday.
The deal calls for a $500,000 base salary with roster bonuses that could earn him as much as $2.5 million. The team does not offer incentive clauses but has done roster bonuses in the past as a way around that.
Gordon will receive an additional $100,000 for one day on the active roster, $200,000 each when he is on the roster for 45, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120 and 150 days. He will receive an additional $300,000 each when he is on the roster for 165 and 180 days.
"He gives us someone who's done everything from close to setup to start in his career," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a tremendous competitor and as far as leaders go, he's one of the best I've come across in my career."
Gordon, 41, was 5-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 34 games for the Phillies last season. The right-hander last appeared in a game on July 5 before being shut down and having a procedure called ulnar-nerve decompression.
Gordon said his recovery was on time, if not a little ahead of schedule, and that he is close to 100 percent. He's been playing catch from 130 feet, which was something he struggled to do over the past few years, and expects to get back on the mound on Monday.
"It's a lot better," Gordon said of his elbow. "I'm grateful that I didn't have to have Tommy John surgery. I'm really excited to getting back out there and being at the top of my game. I look forward to being 100 percent fairly quickly."
Gordon joins a bullpen that also includes closer Chad Qualls, Tony Pena, Jon Rauch and Scott Schoeneweis and one that lost two key pieces -- Brandon Lyon and Juan Cruz -- to free agency.
To say that Gordon is a veteran is an understatement. He has a career 3.94 ERA and 158 saves over a 20-year career.
When asked if he had played with any of his new teammates, he said no, but he had played with Melvin and bench coach Kirk Gibson in Kansas City in the 90s. At that time, Melvin knew Gordon's stuff firsthand as his catcher.
As the years went on, the two kept in touch, and playing for Melvin was one of the reasons Gordon chose to come to Arizona.
"I had a great time with him in Kansas City," Gordon said. "For me to get an opportunity to play for him as well as being able to be part of this organization is a thrill for me."
While he may not have played with the young players on the D-backs' roster, he is familiar with them.
"I'm looking forward to meeting them," he said. "They've got a lot of good young pitchers. For me, this is a dream come true to be able to play with young guys that I think have the ability as well as professionalism. I've learned so much over the course of my career and I think I'm still growing, still learning. That's what motivates me each and every year [that] I don't think I know it all."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.