B.J. Ryan has signed a five-year, $47MM deal to close for the Toronto Blue Jays. GM J.P. Ricciardi simply made Ryan an offer he couldn't refuse.
Ryan entered the 2004 season as a lefty with a powerful fastball but little control. He was possible trade bait for the Orioles entering that season. But then Ryan reduced his walk rate signficantly, and the end result is more lucrative then he possibly could've imagined.
Ryan's deal will certainly have a ripple effect in coming years for free agent closers on the right side of 30. Eric Gagne, who is a few weeks younger than Ryan, could stand to cash in following the '06 season. Gagne has a $12MM option that he may void after 2006. While he likely wouldn't average more than $12MM annually, he may void the option for the chance to lock into a similar five-year pact on the open market.
Gagne has a somewhat better track record than Ryan, although his health comes with a few question marks. He expressed some displeasure with his organization this season, so a departure is feasible.
Thanks to John
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