Percival to have key role, incentives

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published December 1, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Troy Percival closed a two-year deal with the Rays on Friday that could be worth up to nearly $13-million, and said he was prepared to be the primary closer.

"Absolutely," he said. "As far as health goes, I don't think there's any limitations."

Percival, 38, came out of a two-year retirement forced by an arm injury to join St. Louis last summer in middle relief. After throwing regularly in the 93-95 mph range, and well, he is ready to add to his 324 career saves, 12th-most all time, with Al Reyes likely moving to a setup role.

And the chance to do so while helping close friend Joe Maddon lead the Rays to success made it a good fit. So did a guaranteed $8-million, with the chance for nearly $5-million more through incentives for appearances and games finished.

"When he called me and said I could be a big differencemaker, that was huge for me," the right-hander said. "He felt like in the clubhouse and in that bullpen it would really solidify this team."