Cincinnati Reds general manager Dan O'Brien announced the signing of free-agent LHP Kent Mercker to a two-year contract.

Mercker, 36, enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 2004, finishing 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in a career-high 71 appearances for the Cubs. He held opponents to a .205 batting average, including .237 by lefthanders and .172 by righthanders.

In 138 relief apps during the last 2 seasons for the Reds, Braves and Cubs, Mercker has posted a sterling 2.24 ERA.