CLEVELAND -- Jake Westbrook signed a three-year, $33 million
contract extension through 2010 on Friday with the Cleveland Indians, who
locked up a key starter before possibly losing him as a free agent.
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 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.
Now that Westbrook is signed, the Indians can focus on possible
new deals for designated hitter Travis Hafner and left-hander C.C.
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
Shapiro had talks with representatives for both players during