The Red Sox have signed reliever Dan Wheeler to a one-year contract worth $3MM guaranteed. The deal includes a $3MM option (no buyout) for 2012 that can vest with 65 appearances. Another $250K can be earned with 75 appearances. Wheeler has passed his physical. He is represented by Myles Shoda of Diamond Sports Management, Inc.
Wheeler, 33, spent the last three-and-a-half seasons pitching out of the Rays bullpen, where he posted a 4.32 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 268.2 innings. If we remove intentional walks, his walk rate drops all the way down to 2.4 BB/9. Wheeler has a very pronounced platoon split, holding righties to a .217/.270/.365 batting line in his career while lefties tagged him for a .275/.341/.491. It's worth noting that he held left-handed batters to a .154/.227/.436 line in 2010.
The move is a homecoming of sorts for Wheeler, who was born in Providence and went to high school in Warwick, Rhode Island. He joins Bobby Jenks as the newest members of Boston's rebuilt bullpen. In a winter that has featured many three-year contracts for relievers, the Red Sox managed to land both Jenks and Wheeler for three contract years combined.
Although Wheeler was a Type-A free agent, the Rays did not offer him arbitration and will not receive any draft pick compensation. Tampa declined his $4MM option for 2011, instead choosing to pay him a $1MM buyout.