Free-agent relief pitcher Jeff Reardon, who led the major leagues in saves during the 1980s, reached agreement today with the Boston Red Sox on a three-year contract.
Sources said Reardon's deal was worth $6.8 million. He will get $1.9 next season, $2.4 million in 1991 and $2.5 million in 1992.
Reardon, 34, was 5-4 with 31 saves for Minnesota last season. He saved 264 games during the decade while with the Twins, Montreal and the New York Mets.
"We're delighted to get him," Boston General Manager Lou Gorman said. "He was born and raised in Massachusetts, his wife is from Boston and he wanted to come back right from the start."
Earlier in the day, the Red Sox re-signed free-agent reliever Dennis Lamp to a one-year contract. Reardon, a right-hander, will join a bullpen that includes another top right-handed reliever, Lee Smith.
"This gives us some leeway," Red Sox Manager Joe Morgan said, hinting that Smith might be traded. "We could still use a starter."
The Red Sox need offense to replace Nick Esasky, who signed a free-agent contract with Atlanta. Esasky hit 30 home runs with 108 RBIs last season, and Boston is hoping Smith might bring a big hitter or possibly a starting pitcher.
Reardon is 57-62 with 266 saves and a 3.03 ERA in 10 full seasons with the Twins, Montreal and the New York Mets. He has averaged 31 saves in his last eight seasons and is the only pitcher to have a 40-save season in each league, getting 41 with Montreal in 1985 and 42 for Minnesota in 1988.
In other moves today, pitcher Bill Gullickson returned from Japan and signed a one-year contract with Houston, and the Astros also added free-agent infielder Ken Oberkfell.
Gullickson was 101-86 in nine major league seasons with Montreal, Cincinnati and the New York Yankees before going to Japan. He pitched the last two seasons for the Yomiuri Giants and was 21-14.
He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery at the start of last season and made 15 starts before a strained groin muscle ended his season.
Oberkfell is a .281 lifetime hitter in 13 years. He played last season for Pittsburgh and San Francisco and batted a combined .269.
Oberkfell led the major leagues with 18 pinch hits. Houston pinch hitters batted .185, lowest in the National League.
Gullickson's contract is worth about $1.5 million. Oberkfell signed a two-year contract with an option for 1992.
Gullickson will join a rotation that is expected to include Mike Scott, Jim Deshaies and Mark Portugal.
Oberkfell, a reserve in recent years, probably will fill the same role with Houston.