The Tampa Bay Rays officially announced Thursday the signing of Juan Carlos Oviedo, a right-hander who adds depth to the back of the bullpen in 2014 and could emerge as the closer.
Oviedo signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract that can be worth as much as $2.9 million with incentives.
Oviedo, who saved 92 games for the Marlins between 2009 and 2011 when he was known as Leo Nunez, signed a minor league deal with a $2 million club option last January. He spent the season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and did not pitch for the Rays. The Rays declined his option after the season and paid him a $30,000 buyout.
“When we signed Juan Carlos last winter, we felt that when he returned to health he could play a key role in our bullpen in 2014,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “Observing his work ethic throughout the rehab process and getting to know him as a person has strengthened that feeling, and we’re excited to have the chance to see this through.”
Oviedo and Heath Bell (168 career saves), acquired Tuesday in a trade with the Diamondbacks, gives the Rays two experienced closers. At the very least, Bell and Oviedo will reduce the workload on set-up man Joel Peralta.