NEW ORLEANS -- Free-agent closer Keith Foulke signed with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, choosing to join the escalating arms race in the AL East rather than re-sign with Oakland.
Foulke confirmed the signing in an interview with ESPNEWS. The deal is for $21 million over three years, ESPN's Peter Gammons reports.
The Red Sox would not confirm the agreement at baseball's winter meetings, but they didn't deny it, either. The All-Star reliever was scheduled to take a physical to complete his deal, a source close to the negotiations told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Foulke, who led the AL with 43 saves this year, joins starter Curt Schilling as top pitchers acquired by the Red Sox since the season ended. Boston also is talking about getting AL MVP Alex Rodriguez from Texas in a trade for Manny Ramirez.
The Red Sox, without a World Series championship since 1918, blew a late lead and lost Game 7 of the AL championship series to the New York Yankees in 11 innings.
The Yankees went on to lose the World Series to Florida, and have since traded for pitcher Javier Vazquez and neared deals to get Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton.
As Foulke decided between the Red Sox and the Athletics, he was particularly interested in hearing about Boston's history and its ongoing quest to win a championship.
The 31-year-old righty was 9-1 with 43 saves and a 2.08 ERA for Oakland last season and was an AL All-Star.
Foulke made $6 million last season. The Red Sox were willing to top that, a year after then-new general manager Theo Epstein tried to build his bullpen without a full-time closer.
"We're not pursuing Keith because he's a closer. We're pursuing him because he's one of the best pitchers in the game," Epstein said earlier this week.
Foulke has 143 saves in a career that started with San Francisco in 1997. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox later that season and went to Oakland for the 2003 season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Its the 80's all over again. Big George is running the show and sending the Yanks into the ****ta. We have boy genuis Theo Epstein, the best GM in baseball in only his second year.
The Yankees aren't getting either Vlad or Tejada! Vlad doesn't want to come to NY and where would the Yanks play Tejada, 2b? I don't think he is going to change positions for you guys, sorry.
Originally posted by Bugg@Dec 13 2003, 05:27 PM Screw the other 28 teams. Let's just have 162-game series to determine home field in the 9-game World Series between the Sawx and the Yanks. This is like the Cold War .