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WSI News - News Watch

Foulke gets $10 million, two-year extension from White Sox

December 11th, from the Associated Press

The Chicago White Sox are holding on to closer Keith Foulke.

Foulke and the White Sox reached agreement Tuesday on a $10 million, two-year contract extension, locking him up through the 2003 season. The deal will pay the right-hander $4 million next year and $6 million in 2003 -- almost double what he made last season.

Foulke saved a career-high 42 games last year, second in club history only to Bobby Thigpen, who had a major league-record 57 saves in 1990. Foulke also became only the third reliever in White Sox history to have 30 saves in consecutive seasons.

Just 29, Foulke has been one of the AL's top closers the past three years. He's converted 54 of his last 57 save chances, including 29 straight at home, and his .933 save percentage last year was best in the AL.

He ranked third among all AL relievers in saves and ERA (2.33), and was fifth with 75 strikeouts.

The White Sox have been trying to work out an extension with Foulke since last spring, when he beat them in arbitration and got a huge raise. The White Sox offered $2.2 million, a significant increase from the $450,000 he made in 2000. But arbitrators awarded Foulke $3.1 million, the sum he had asked for.

Foulke was acquired from San Francisco in July 1997. A starter in the Giants organization, he was converted to a closer by the White Sox and quickly blossomed in the role.

Though he had only nine saves in 1999, the Elias Sports Bureau ranked him as the top AL reliver from 1998-99 based on several factors including innings, wins plus saves and ERA. In 2000, he was in the top 10 of AL relievers in saves (34), save percentage (.872) and ERA (2.97).

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