Cardinals, Looper agree to three-year deal

The Cardinals gave Looper a $1,675,000 signing bonus after selecting him in the first round of the 1996 draft.

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals announced today they have signed right-handed pitcher Braden Looper to a three-year contract. Looper, a first-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 1996 (third overall), made his Major League debut with the Cardinals in 1998. He was part of the Cardinals trade with the Florida Marlins that brought shortstop Edgar Renteria to St. Louis in December 1998.

Looper, 31, pitched for the New York Mets last season and went 4-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 60 games with 28 saves. The 6-3, 220-pound native of Oklahoma recorded a career-high 29 saves with the Mets in 2004 and won a World Championship with the Marlins in 2003.

"We are glad to have Braden back in our system, and he's glad to be back," stated Senior Vice President/General Manager Walt Jocketty. "He will be a quality set-up pitcher in our bullpen and be able to close for us on days when Jason (Isringhausen) is not available."

Looper has appeared in 70+ games six out of his seven years in the Majors and holds a career record of 25-29, 3.47 ERA with 103 saves. He is 4-6 with 30 saves and a 3.10 ERA in his career vs. NL Central teams and has handled his former and future team rather well, posting a 1-0 mark with three saves and a 0.00 ERA in 16 career games (17.0 IP) versus the Cardinals.

The reliever underwent arthroscopic surgery October 3 of this year to clean out the AC joint in his right shoulder and has cleared a physical with the Cardinals medical staff.

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