Lowe finalizes deal with Dodgers

Saturday, January 15th 2005, 12:37 pm

By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Dodgers have a new pitching ace they hope can repeat what he did for the Boston Red Sox in the postseason last October.

Derek Lowe, the second-winningest pitcher over the past three seasons, finalized a $36 million, four-year contract with the Dodgers on Tuesday after Los Angeles completed its trade to send Shawn Green to Arizona.

Lowe was 14-12 with a 5.42 ERA in 33 starts with the Red Sox last season, then went 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA during three postseason starts and one relief appearance.

He was the winner in the final game of all three postseason series _ against the Angels, Yankees and Cardinals _ as the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.

``Derek is a front-line starter with a history of success in the regular season and in the postseason,'' Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said. ``He adds great depth to our rotation and will help anchor our pitching staff for years to come. We're ecstatic that we were able to add a pitcher of his caliber to our team.''

Lowe, who passed a physical Monday, is due to be introduced at a news conference Wednesday. He has won 52 games in the past three seasons, tying Curt Schilling for second in the majors, one behind Bartolo Colon.

A 31-year-old right-hander, Lowe has a 72-59 career record with a 3.88 ERA and 85 saves. He had been with the Red Sox since July 1997, when he was acquired along with catcher Jason Varitek from Seattle for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb.

Lowe was Boston's closer from 1999-2001 and had an AL-leading 42 saves in 2000. He has made 32 or more starts in each of the past three seasons and has never been on the disabled list.

His best year was in 2002, when he went 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting.

Lowe will join Odalis Perez, Brad Penny and Jeff Weaver in the Dodgers' rotation.

``We're going to have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball this year,'' Perez said earlier this week after finalizing his $24 million, three-year contract.

``As of today, when you look at our starting rotation and what we have to offer in the bullpen, it will stack up pretty well with anybody in our division,'' Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. ``When you look at the four guys at the top _ Penny, Lowe, Perez and Weaver, those are four awfully good guys.''

Tracy mentioned Kazuhisa Ishii, Edwin Jackson and Wilson Alvarez as candidates for the fifth member of the rotation.

``Pitching-wise, you definitely feel better today than you did prior to going into a divisional series,'' Tracy said.

Los Angeles went 93-69 to win the NL West last year and played in the postseason for the first time since 1996. They lost to the eventual NL champion St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in their best-of-five division series.

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