St. Louis' Jason Isringhausen celebrates after earning a save against… (Tom Gannam / Associated…)
Tempe, Ariz. -- After going all winter without signing a long list of free-agent closers they were linked to, the Angels finally added one Wednesday, though this one is not expected to finish many games for them this season.
The Angels, looking to add bullpen depth to a relief corps that led the AL with 25 blown saves, signed veteran right-hander Jason Isringhausen to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp, where he will compete for a roster spot but is not expected to push second-year closer Jordan Walden for his job.
"He has a veteran presence, he's a leader, he's been through the battles, and he's fearless," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "To me, it's a win-win. He still has the ability to make an impact on the mound, and as a mentor, his exposure to younger guys in our bullpen could be invaluable."
Isringhausen, 39, appeared in 53 games for the New York Mets last season, posting a 3-3 record with seven saves and a 4.05 earned-run average, 44 strikeouts and 24 walks in 46-2/3 innings.
He recorded 19 holds and converted seven of 11 save opportunities, including his 300th save, which ranks him third among active pitchers. He was particularly effective against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .178 average, .248 slugging percentage and .498 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
Isringhausen had seven seasons of 30 saves or more for the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals but sat out the 2010 season and most of the 2009 season because of an elbow injury that require reconstructive surgery. He sat out last September because of a back injury.
But according to fangraphs.com, Isringhausen had an average fastball velocity of 90.6 mph last season, which was not far off from his career average of 91.9 mph.
As part of his deal with the Angels, Isringhausen will become a free agent if he doesn't make the club out of spring training.
"He has no interest in playing triple A," Dipoto said.
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