<
>

Tomko, Dodgers agree to two-year, $8.7 million deal

LOS ANGELES -- There were many reasons Brett Tomko wanted to
sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He grew up three miles from Dodger Stadium, he makes his home
down the freeway in San Diego, and he has a bond with Los Angeles
general manager Ned Colletti.

"He gave me a chance in San Francisco, to come there, when I
didn't have a lot on the table," Tomko said Thursday after
agreeing to an $8.7 million, two-year contract with Los Angeles.
"Now it's good to come to Los Angeles and be a part of what he's
trying to do."

Colletti was assistant general manager of the Giants when Tomko
pitched for them the past two seasons.

"We think Brett is a huge plus," Colletti said. "He's been so
durable, probably a 200-inning guy. Having starters who are durable
gives us more options in the rotation, in the bullpen."

Tomko became the third former San Francisco player to switch to
the rival Dodgers.

His deal calls for salaries of $3.6 million next year and $4.1
million in 2007. The Dodgers must decide within five days of the
end of the 2007 World Series whether to exercise a $4.5 million
option for 2008. If the option is exercised, Tomko has 72 hours to
reject it. If the Dodgers decline or Tomko rejects, he gets a $1
million buyout.

The right-hander, who went 8-15 with a 4.48 ERA for the Giants
last season, is the sixth free agent signed by Colletti, who became
the Dodgers' GM on Nov. 15. Kenny Lofton and Bill Mueller are the
other former Giants who recently joined the NL West rival Dodgers.

Tomko has an 81-73 record and 4.52 ERA in nine major league
seasons. With a fastball consistently in the low 90-mph range, he
has made at least 30 starts and pitched at least 190 innings each
of the past four years.

"I think he pitches well with confidence, and I believe we have
the right staff to bring out the best in him," Colletti said.
"It's a matter of getting it all together. You never know, he may
be at a point in his career where he's about to become more
dominant."

Tomko pitched for Cincinnati, Seattle, San Diego and St. Louis
before spending two years in San Francisco. He went 19-22 with a
save and a 4.26 ERA in 65 games for the Giants.

He has been effective at Dodger Stadium, going 4-2 with a 2.93
ERA in 13 appearances. He remembers going to the ballpark as a
young fan.

"We went to Dodger games, and I've just felt comfortable there.
I think it's a confidence thing," he said. "When I was there
sitting on the visitors' side, I would be thinking that this would
be a place you could really enjoy."

Tomko figures to follow Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Odalis Perez
in Los Angeles' rotation. The Dodgers are seeking another starter.

Other players acquired by the Dodgers since Colletti became
their GM are Nomar Garciaparra, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Rafael
Furcal
. Like Tomko, the other five free agents all have postseason
experience.