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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Monday, May 23, 2005

Reds - DFAed Graves

Cincinnati Reds - Designated P Danny Graves for assignment.

Great news for the Reds.  Not only does it get rid of a guy who simply can no longer pitch (though as a poster in an earlier thread noted, they really should have taken great pains to trade him before this had become obvioius), but it also shows that the Reds seem to be serious at starting to trim off the dead wood from the team.  Hopefully, Rich Aurilia is next. 

Don’t look for Milton or Wilson to get cut, though.  While I hated the Milton signing at the time, comparing it to Uncle Carl strangling a prostitute in terms of utility to the team, even I didn’t think Milton would be this bad.  He could still have a league-average season and it would be nutty to cut him less than 2 months into a 3-year contract.  Same goes for Wilson.

Wagner is the favorite to wind up as the closer.  He’s been groomed to be the closer since he was drafted and shot through the system and is the only Red reliever other than Kent Mercker to actually be getting the opposition out.

Dan Szymborski Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:05 PM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Traderdave Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:15 PM (#1356242)
Graves is a nice guy but this is LONG OVERDUE.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:17 PM (#1356249)
I must say I'm shocked.

And why am I so worried he's the next Cubs closer?
   3. Red Menace Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:19 PM (#1356253)
I'll remember Graves as a crafty closer who worked his sinker for many good years despite not being a strikeout pitcher. Yes, he was foolishly overpaid and had the disasterous starting stint. This would have been his last year with the team regardless and it's a shame things turned ugly between him and the fans (I booed him along with everyone else). So long "Baby Faced Assasin."
   4. shoewizard Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:20 PM (#1356257)
Wagner is not available, and I tried already to trade for him and was rebuffed. Is Mercker worth a roster spot in mixed roto leagues? I figure the only way he gets the closer job is if Wagner completely sucks. But just wondering.
   5. Handle's Messiah Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:23 PM (#1356261)
It would not surprise me if the Marlins find a spot for him in middle relief. He had his best stuff pitching for McKeon, and the Marlins could use some depth in the bullpen IMO. I think he's worth a shot after a change in scenery.
   6. AROM Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:29 PM (#1356276)
I wonder if Graves could have any use as a ROOGY who comes in to try and get a DP grounder.

I look forward to getting some saves out of Wagner. Too bad I didn't know this was coming last night.
   7. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:29 PM (#1356277)
Great news for the Reds. Not only does it get rid of a guy who simply can no longer pitch (though as a poster in an earlier thread noted, they really should have taken great pains to trade him before this had become obvioius), but it also shows that the Reds seem to be serious at starting to trim off the dead wood from the team.

Very well put, Dan. I agree completely.

And why am I so worried he's the next Cubs closer?

Yikes!
   8. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:32 PM (#1356283)
There's been some noise about Valentine as a potential future closer at times in the past, though Wagner is certainly the obvious (and probably correct) choice.

Graves was pretty good back in the day, and he's still probably the best player ever from Vietnam.
   9. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:32 PM (#1356285)
Graves has a G/F ratio of 0.97 this year. I'm actually surprised he's "only" given up 4 HR.

And why am I so worried he's the next Cubs closer?

I've actually been impressed by Hendry's resolve in not signing the likes of Graves. Perhaps he knows it would only make a bad situation worse. I'm not a big fan of Ryan Dempster, but Graves makes him look like Dennis Eckersley.
   10. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:34 PM (#1356292)
It may be too soon to credit the Reds' wise thinking, however. From ESPN.com:

Graves, the Reds' career saves leader, gave up five ninth-inning runs in Cleveland's 9-2 victory Sunday at Great American Ball Park, then was booed and taunted by fans as he left the field.

Graves didn't react to the fans as he walked off the field and went to the end of the dugout to get a drink. When he returned to the end by the bat rack, a man in one of the high-priced seats next to the dugout yelled at him. Graves yelled back and made an obscene hand gesture.


With this organization, it wouldn't shock me if it wasn't flipping off the crowd that got Graves DFA'd.
   11. Repoz Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:37 PM (#1356302)
But...but...how can this be?...Francesna said that, "40 save guys don't just grow on trees!"
   12. Sam M. Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:37 PM (#1356303)
So am I the only one who thinks this had a lot more to do with flipping off the fan than it did with the quality of his pitching? Or at least that they were of equal importance to the Reds?
   13. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:37 PM (#1356304)
I wonder if Graves could have any use as a ROOGY who comes in to try and get a DP grounder.

I don't think this is a particularly good idea -- Graves is ineffective against both RH and LH hitters. His three-year splits (per ESPN.com):

RH: .286/.318/.475
LH: .284/.338/.471
   14. Repoz Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:39 PM (#1356311)
The Mets Peterson says...he can fix Graves' finger problem in 10 minutes.
   15. Larry Bowa Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:40 PM (#1356312)
Dear Dusty,

Graves is a proven veteran closer. Get him, and the pennant is yours.

Your pal,
Larry
   16. Larry Bowa Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:42 PM (#1356317)
PS--LaTroy clearly doesn't have the stuff to be a closer. I would urge Hendry to trade him to the Red Sox for a root beer float and a few cases of baseballs. That'll learn him!
   17. Kyle Lobner Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:48 PM (#1356328)
Mike Maddux could turn him around in a week. The Brewers should offer Gary Glover and Tommy Phelps to the Reds for him.
   18. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:56 PM (#1356343)
With this organization, it wouldn't shock me if it wasn't flipping off the crowd that got Graves DFA'd.

Why is that?

Last year, they dumped Haynes when he wasn't worth keeping around; this year, they did the same with Jiminez. These three guys are the only 3 under Lindner that they've DFA'd with big money contracts - there is no history of them eating contracts just because of attitude.
   19. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:59 PM (#1356354)
Wasn't there some talk that Jiminez was cut in part because of attitude? I have no idea on Haynes.
   20. Chris in Wicker Park Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:03 PM (#1356359)
Regardless of the motivation, this is the right move for the Reds. You have to assume that they tried to trade him for just about anything and were only offered similarly bad contract in return.
   21. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:11 PM (#1356369)
Wasn't there some talk that Jiminez was cut in part because of attitude?

I haven't seen it mentioned in any of the stories about his being designated for assignment, but in a very close play at the plate in one of last week's losses to the Mets, Jiminez neither slid nor attempted to knock the ball out of Piazza's glove. He just sort of ran into the tag in a Jeremy Giambi-like fashion. Howie Rose couldn't stop talking about Jiminez' apparent lack of desire to make a play for three innings. Might have been the camel's back-breaking straw.
   22. Shredder Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:15 PM (#1356377)
Apparently I don't follow the Reds or the National League very closely. Can someone explained to me what happened to him? Didn't he use to be, like, kinda good? He's only 31.
   23. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:16 PM (#1356379)
"Howie Rose couldn't stop talking about Jiminez' apparent lack of desire to make a play for three innings."

I would still love it if the Yanks took a shot with Jimenez and wiped out Rey Sanchez or at least had him in Columbus as insurance.
   24. cavity Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:21 PM (#1356389)
My two cents? I think it had something to do with Graves sniping at Jiminez after he got cut...

Danny Graves said it best: "When you don't want to try and you don't want to try to get better, there are guys in the minors who do. That attitude can become a cancer. D'Angelo didn't have the attitude that I'm going to help the team. If a guy isn't going to try to contribute, why keep him around?"

from Reds Glad x-Sox player gone
   25. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:23 PM (#1356394)
Last year, they dumped Haynes when he wasn't worth keeping around; this year, they did the same with Jiminez. These three guys are the only 3 under Lindner that they've DFA'd with big money contracts - there is no history of them eating contracts just because of attitude.

Even so (and putting aside the Jimenez issue), there is a history of the team signing players for reasons having virtually nothing to do with their ability, see, e.g., Rose, Pete, Jr., as well as inking players to long-term deals based more on perceived fan-friendliness than ability. See, e.g., Larkin, Barry and Casey, Sean.
   26. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:25 PM (#1356400)
Didn't he use to be, like, kinda good?

He was good. I'm not saying this caused anything, but IMO he became a lot less effective around the time he was moved into the starting rotation. He's been pretty awful for the past 2-3 years at least, but I'm sure someone with access to the stats will prove me wrong on this.
   27. Shredder Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:34 PM (#1356410)
He's been pretty awful for the past 2-3 years at least, but I'm sure someone with access to the stats will prove me wrong on this.

He had an ERA+ of 102 last year, so at least he wasn't awful. And wasn't he injured the year before that?
   28. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:35 PM (#1356411)
There was some talk earlier that he had lost velocity over the past few years, and that that was partially responsible for his decline. His K rate is down from his career average this year, as it was during the ill-fated starter experiment, and he's walked a lot of batters.

It's not beyond the realm of possibility that he's either hiding an arm injury, or just plain too screwed up to get people out. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't trade for him unless I could get him for really, really cheap, but if he gets released I could see a few teams (Chicago? Atlanta?) signing him to a minor-league deal to see if he can get straightened out. He wasn't great last year, and he was never as good as the "Reds career saves leader" tag would have you believe, but I wouldn't have expected him to be this awful.
   29. DCW3 Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:48 PM (#1356426)
He had an ERA+ of 102 last year, so at least he wasn't awful.

For a closer, that's pretty terrible. Of the 30 pitchers listed by BB-Ref as their team's closer in 2004, only four had a worse ERA+ than Graves (Urbina, Affeldt, Herges and Chacon).
   30. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:57 PM (#1356431)
O'Brian and Miley say it was his performance.
   31. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: May 23, 2005 at 09:59 PM (#1356433)
He wasn't great last year, and he was never as good as the "Reds career saves leader" tag would have you believe, but I wouldn't have expected him to be this awful.

All you have to do is change the "Reds career saves leader" to match whatever Reds pitcher you are talking about and it would be just as appropriate.

ie. He wasn't great last year, and he was never as good as the "Reds Opening Day Starter" tag would have you believe, but I wouldn't have expected him to be this awful (Paul Wilson).
   32. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:08 PM (#1356445)
O'Brian and Miley say it was his performance.

What do you expect? Actually, they really didn't say that either. Quoting your article:

O'Brien said that Graves' encounter with the fan wasn't the main reason for the move.

I'm not saying that the encounter was the only reason Graves was DFA'd -- they may have been considering it for a while -- but I'm also recognizing that it might have been the triggering factor. Who knows?
   33. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:14 PM (#1356458)
It all depends on how you view the management, I think.

Negative view: "I can't believe they'd release a guy just because he gave the finger to some fan."

Positive view: "They didn't want him so they jumped on the chance to dump him when he gave the finger to some fan."

After the Jiminez release I'd tend toward the latter, but that might be because I own Lopez and Wagner.
   34. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:20 PM (#1356469)
i wouldnt mind seeingthe cubs signhim to a minor league deal.
   35. chris p Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:24 PM (#1356477)
yeah you would, meat. you just don't know it yet.
   36. ronh Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:36 PM (#1356492)
Anybody think that Atlanta signs him and Mazzone performs his magic?

I think Graves needed to get out of Cincy to have any chance of reviving his career.
   37. rr Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:40 PM (#1356500)
I'm a Reds fan who is tired of Graves and never liked him that much. I also got Ryan Wagner in roto for $7 because I thought this might happen and thought Wagner would get a shot at splitting saves with Mercker. That said, I think this is an overreaction triggered by the gesture to the fan. I'd move Graves to long relief and try to get him straightened out. If I were Graves' agent, I'd be on the phone to Schuerholz. This seems like possible Mazzone rehab project if the Braves are interested.
   38. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 24, 2005 at 12:08 AM (#1356666)
Anybody think that Atlanta signs him and Mazzone performs his magic?

Not unless the Mazzone kool-aid is really a steroid slurry that brings back velocity.
   39. StJoeHawk Posted: May 24, 2005 at 12:18 AM (#1356706)
Someone PLEASE take Ed Wade's cell phone away from him...
   40. FDR Jones Posted: May 24, 2005 at 01:36 AM (#1356952)
I highly doubt they dropped him because he flipped off a fan. That sort of thing happens more than a few times a season and baseball men are pretty quick to defend one another in such matters.

I always liked Graves. I hope he gets it back together for another club. If I had been in Cincinnati as long as he had I would be glad for a change of scenery.
   41. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 24, 2005 at 01:40 AM (#1356959)
"Anybody think that Atlanta signs him and Mazzone performs his magic?"

Mazzone's magic hasn't worked on Kolb, and they seem to me that Graves and Kolb are very similiar pitchers. Texas or Milwaukee might be good ideas.
   42. rr Posted: May 24, 2005 at 01:48 AM (#1356980)
Weathers got the first save opp and nailed it.
   43. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: May 24, 2005 at 01:51 AM (#1356988)
Well, it hasn't worked on Kolb yet. We're only two months into the season, after all. Even Mazzone needed some time to get Mike Hampton back on track.

Wonder if Graves has been dogging it because of how bad the Reds have been this year? It'd be pretty annoying to see him pull a Vince Carter and suddenly regain some velocity with a new team.
   44. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 24, 2005 at 01:54 AM (#1357000)
"Even Mazzone needed some time to get Mike Hampton back on track."

But Kolb wasn't off track before he came to the Braves was he? He had a rough second half last year, but I wouldn't say he was a project when he came to the Braves.
   45. rr Posted: May 24, 2005 at 01:55 AM (#1357005)
FDR,

Well, it's like the relationship between personality and performance at any job--you can flip off fans if your ERA is 1.76. They hold it against you a little more at 7.76. It was a factor, I'm sure, in that any boss who sees an employee who is not performing AND doing things that irritate people/hurt the company's image is going to consider saying "get your azz out of here." However, given Graves' popularity, long-term status, and his contributions, I think DFAing him was excessive at this point. He got emotional; he messed up and he said "I'm sorry." Move him to middle relief and maybe try to trade him a for a Grade-C prospect later. It's not like he is going to cost the Reds the pennant, and they have to pay him anyway.
   46. Spivey Posted: May 24, 2005 at 02:05 AM (#1357053)
Dave Weathers!?!?
   47. Larry Bowa Posted: May 24, 2005 at 02:16 AM (#1357108)
Dear Ed,

Trade Terry Adams for Graves! Oh. Wait... OK, just pick up Graves and send Terry Adams to the bottom of the Delaware in cement shoes.

Your pal,
Larry

PS - Kansas City, you now have a new enemy. Me.
   48. 1k5v3L Posted: May 24, 2005 at 02:31 AM (#1357180)
Dave Weathers!?!?

LOL
   49. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: May 24, 2005 at 02:33 AM (#1357192)
Please, please let Brian Sabean be too distracted to read this development...

He'd be a decent project for a team like Atlanta to take on. He is only 31 and a sinkerballer doesn't need 92+ mph velocity to be effective if he can recapture his movement and control. Not a great bet, but worth a flyer IMHO.
   50. NTNgod Posted: May 24, 2005 at 03:04 AM (#1357289)
But Kolb wasn't off track before he came to the Braves was he? He had a rough second half last year, but I wouldn't say he was a project when he came to the Braves.

He did wear down in the second half, which wasn't all that shocking considering his previous arm problems.

Mazzone has fixed his K rate this year, with 16 in 18.2 IP after tonight, which is why all the Braves fans are touting Kolb for the Cy Young this year :P

(from the games I've seen Kolb this year, he's got an entirely different pitch selection than Maddux had him throwing)
   51. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: May 24, 2005 at 03:04 AM (#1357290)
Dave Weathers!?!?

Wagner's pitched the last three days, so hopefully it's just that he couldn't go tonight.
   52. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 24, 2005 at 03:47 AM (#1357350)
I highly doubt they dropped him because he flipped off a fan.

I don't understand how else he goes from closer to jobless with no stop at middle relief in between.
   53. Gromit45 Posted: May 24, 2005 at 02:29 PM (#1357823)
Rickey says Rickey looks forward to Rickey playing with D'Angelo and Danny.

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