Mark Mulder will attempt his major league comeback on a minor league deal, agreeing to terms with the Angels on a contract that includes an invitation to big league camp in spring training, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Mulder's pact could be worth over $6 million if he reaches all of his performance bonuses, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Mulder last pitched in the big leagues in 2008, retiring at age 31 after a pair of shoulder surgeries. While working as a game analyst for ESPN late in 2013, he noticed something in Dodgers relief pitcher Paco Rodriguez and tried to emulate the delivery. The result provided the impetus for Mulder's comeback attempt.
"To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago. It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Rodriguez in my living room," Mulder told Crasnick in December. "I wouldn't be trying this is if I didn't think the stuff I was throwing was good enough."
Mulder was 88-40 with a 3.65 ERA from 2001-2005 with the Athletics, and finished second in the American League Cy Young Award balloting in 2001. But the two-time All-Star was limited to six games and four starts in 2007-2008 combined before retiring.
The Angels have been aggressive in trying to add pitching this offseason, looking to add to a rotation headed by Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. They acquired starters Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs in the Mark Trumbo three-way trade with the Diamondbacks and White Sox.
"One of the reasons he signed with the Angels was the opportunity to compete for a spot in the starting rotation," said Brian Charles, Mulder's agent, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.