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Reliever Gonzalez goes with Boras

Reliever Gonzalez goes with Boras

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ATLANTA -- Mike Gonzalez has already drawn strong attention from a number of different teams looking for a closer and as he continues to determine where he'll pitch next year, he'll do so under the advisement of Scott Boras.

Two Major League sources have confirmed that Gonzalez recently chose Boras to serve as his agent. The veteran reliever had previously been represented by Dan Lozano of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

With the addition of Gonzalez to his star-studded stable, Boras now possesses one of the top available relievers on this year's free-agent market. The 31-year-old lefty posted a 2.42 ERA and limited opponents to a .209 batting average in the career-high 80 appearances he made for the Braves this past season.

Gonzalez converted 10 of his 17 save opportunities, though Rafael Soriano assumed the role as the Braves' primary closer during this past season. Also a free agent, Soriano is also drawing attention from a number of clubs searching for a closer.

Gonzalez has reportedly drawn interest from the Nationals, and on Friday, when clubs are able to begin financial discussions with all available free agents, he is expected to gain a better perspective about how much interest the Rays, White Sox and Phillies might have in gaining his services.

With Brad Lidge under contract, the Phillies aren't necessarily looking for a closer. But they may be interested in an affordable insurance policy for Lidge, who struggled this past season and recently underwent a minor surgical procedure on his right elbow.

While the Braves need a closer, they seem prepared for the possibility that other teams are going to make offers to Soriano and Gonzalez that they aren't willing to match.

With both of these veteran relievers qualifying as Type-A free agents, the Braves will have to decide whether they want to offer them arbitration in order to provide the Draft-pick compensation that they would receive if Gonzalez and Soriano were to sign elsewhere.

While the Braves don't seem willing to pay the financial consequences that could come if Soriano accepted an arbitration offer, they do seem comfortable making this offer to Gonzalez, who earned $3.45 million this season -- significantly lower than Soriano's $6.35 million salary.

If a Type-A free agent signs elsewhere before Dec. 1 or receives an arbitration offer from their former club, the former club is eligible to receive a first-round Draft pick and a sandwich selection between the first and second rounds.

In the event that the signing club has one of the Draft's first 15 selections, the former club would receive the sandwich selection and a second-round selection.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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