Jason Isringhausen pitching for the New York Mets. (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )
Tempe, Ariz. — At least one veteran’s job with the Angels is secure. While engaging the Cleveland Indians in trade talks for outfielder Bobby Abreu, the Angels have informed 39-year-old reliever Jason Isringhausen that he will be on the team.
As for the disgruntled Abreu, who is unhappy with his reduced role, talks with the Indians appear to be dead or have cooled considerably. Abreu is in the Angels’ lineup and batting sixth in Friday’s exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, teams had to pay 10-year big league veterans on minor league contracts an extra $100,000 to keep them on rosters past Thursday. The Angels had until 9 a.m. Friday to make a decision on Isringhausen.
Manager Mike Scioscia was noncommittal on Isringhausen’s status after Thursday’s game, saying the decision was in the hands of General Manager Jerry Dipoto, but the pitcher appeared to solidify his spot with a pair of one-two-three innings against the Reds on Wednesday and Royals on Thursday. DiPoto called Isringhausen Thursday night to inform him he's made the team.
Isringhausen, who has 300 career saves, will receive a base salary of $650,000, and he can make another $200,000 in incentives for games pitched. Had he not made the team, Isringhausen said, “I’ll go home and be perfectly fine,” he said.
Instead, he’ll get to extend his career with a team that many are predicting will reach the World Series this season.
"I thanked Jerry and told him I'll give him everything I've got," Isringhausen said. "I don't want to just be a mentor to guys. I'll help them out whenever I can, but I want to get outs."
Isringhausen, who hasn't signed a major league contract but was assured of making the team, had struggled with mechanical and command problems in two of his first four spring outings, and he left the park unsure about his chances of making the team.
[Updated at 9:42 a.m.: Isringhausen signed a major league contract Friday morning and was told by GM he is on the 25-man opening-day roster.]
"Yeah, I thought it might be over, because I didn't pitch that great before my last two games, and I understand how things work," Isringhausen said. "But I'm still here. I'm happy about that. Now I can continue to work hard and get better."
Angels' Dan Haren has been delivering this spring