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03/29/07 10:00 PM ET

Angels sign Shields to extension

Reliever has led AL in holds since start of 2004 season

LOS ANGELES -- Attaching higher value to a winning environment and security for his family than the possibility of a higher profile as a closer elsewhere, Scot Shields has signed a contract with the Angels keeping him in Anaheim through 2010.

Shields, second in Major League Baseball in holds the past three seasons, accepted a four-year deal worth $18 million on Thursday with a smile and a distinct sense of -- what else? -- relief.

"Closing isn't that important to me as long as we're winning games," Shields, 31, said, having opted to maintain his role as Francisco Rodriguez's main setup man. "I'm totally fine with that.

"With this team, take a look at the young guys we have, the future we have here. It's going to be fun -- especially with [owner Arte Moreno]. "He called while I was driving across the desert [from Arizona] yesterday and left a message on my phone, saying congratulations."

With 81 holds since the start of the 2004 season, Shields trails only the Padres' Scott Linebrink, who has 90. Shields led the AL with 31 holds last season and was second to Linebrink, who had 36.

"He's as reliable [a setup man] as there is," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Bottom line is what a guy does on the field, and he's as good as it gets.

"His length, a power arm at the back end of the game, that's important. Percy [Troy Percival], Frankie, Scotty, they have been a big part of our success. When you're talking about a guy who gets five or six outs, that's almost like having two power arms."

The contract, announced by club vice president/general manager Bill Stoneman, replaces the one-year contract Shields signed in February.

"Scot has been crucial to the success of our bullpen," Stoneman said. "He is one of the most reliable and resilient relievers in the game, and we are thrilled to keep him in an Angel uniform for a while."

The Angels now have nine players signed through the 2008 season and five players under contract through the 2009 campaign: Garret Anderson ('08), Vladimir Guerrero ('08), Chone Figgins ('08), Robb Quinlan ('08), Kelvim Escobar ('09), John Lackey ('09), Justin Speier ('10), Shields ('10) and Gary Matthews Jr. ('11).

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"I'm going to play this game until they say I can't play any more," Shields said. "Hopefully, I'll have another chance to sign another contract in four more years -- hopefully, right here."

Shields alluded to the possibility he could be traded before the contract expires, but, whatever happens, he feels he has secured the futures of daughters Kayla and Ella. Shields and the former Jaimie McGovern were married on Oct. 20, 2000.

"My two daughters will be set for life -- that was the main thing," Shields said, adding that he excitedly phoned his parents and brothers when the deal was completed. "That shows how much they respect me -- and how much I respect them. It's a mutual thing.

"They've run me out there a lot, and the next four years, I want to do the same thing."

With Rodriguez eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, Shields could be a fallback closer -- not that he's thinking in those terms.

"Me and Frankie have a good relationship," Shields said. "I would like to be Frankie's setup man the rest of his career."

Shields made 13 starts in 2003, but no longer gives serious thought to starting, having grown increasingly comfortable with making the eighth inning his domain.

"We had him in the rotation in 2003 for a while," Scioscia said, "but he was going to be too valuable using him three or four times a week rather than one or two."

Shields was 7-7 in 2006 with two saves and a 2.87 ERA, working 87 2/3 innings. He ranked fourth among American League pitchers in appearances with 74, the second highest for a season in club history behind his own standard of 78 games, set in 2005.

Over the last three seasons, Shields has worked 284 2/3 innings, most by any reliever in the Majors. His 291 strikeouts over the same span rank fourth among Major League relievers.

Shields enters the 2007 season with 31 career relief wins, three shy of tying the Angels' career record of 34 by Dave LaRoche.

A late draft pick in 1997, in the 38th round of the First-Year Player Draft out of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) High School, Shields has a 35-29 career record with 14 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 293 games, 14 as a starter.

Shields has made 11 postseason appearances and was a member of the Angels' 2002 World Series championship team.

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