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…. A call to arms

The Cincinnatti Reds designated Danny Graves for assignment today, ending his Cincinnatti career. Listening to the Reds GM Dan O’Brien made me laugh:

His performance has been unsatisfactory and unacceptable. It hasn’t been up to the standards we’ve come to expect for the Cincinnati Reds organization. We appreciate Danny’s contributions to the organization, and we hope he finds an opportunity with another major league club.

His performance hasn’t been up to the standards we’ve come to expect for the Reds?!? Is this the same Reds who’ve lost 90-plus games for like the last ten years? The same Reds who asked Graves to go from the bullpen to a starting role to help the team, starting him on this slide to oblivion? In the same article Graves wonders about that:

…. Graves, 31, hasn’t been the same since he agreed to help the team by moving into the rotation in 2003. A career reliever, Graves wore down during a 4-15 season that took several miles per hour off his fastball and took a toll on his body. He was throwing around 88 mph this season, down from 94 mph in his prime.

“I changed roles and probably ruined my career,” Graves said. “I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I felt like I’ve been given up on. It’s a shock to me. If I can recall, I’m not the only closer that has struggled.”

Yeah, and the Reds coaching staff seemed to have really helped him with that:

…. “It became a confidence factor,” manager Dave Miley said. “His confidence has been shaken in the month of May, and we weren’t comfortable bringing him in certain situations. We weren’t seeing what we were accustomed to seeing.”

Confidence, yeah, he’s lost confidence. Nothing’s like a ready made excuse for a coaching staff to clear itself of any part of players troubles. We don’t think he has any confidence, or maybe it’s his lack of heart, or any other completely unmeasurable intangible. Here’s a thought: maybe the coaching staff of this laughingstock of a team team failed to perform at a level that Graves’ had come to expect.

I’m sure free agents will look at the way he was handled at the end and think twice (or even three times) about joining the perennially under-acheiving Reds. His teammates certainly feel like management pulled the rug out from under the team:

…. Stunned teammates sat in folding chairs in the clubhouse after learning of the move, which leaves the team without a proven closer. Several players said Graves should have been given a chance to work out his problems.

“This is not his fault,” first baseman Sean Casey said. “We stink. For us to be 15-28 has nothing to do with Danny Graves. That’s the frustrating part for me.

“I know I’m a little emotional right now, but I think the Cincinnati Reds as an organization owe a lot more to Danny Graves for the eight years he stepped up every year. They owe him more than to just release him like this. I just disagree with it.”

Outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. said he’s never seen anything quite like the move.

“It’s tough,” Griffey said. “He’s not a troublemaker. He’s not a guy that complained. He wants the ball. It’s just upsetting. It’s a tough way to lose a guy that’s been here and dedicated himself to the organization.”

Yeah, that’ll rally the troops. Throw Graves out the window. Let me be the first to suggest that Sabean call up Graves agent and get him out here fast. Sure, he’s been horrible for a while, but I guarantee you, for $316,000, somebody will sit him down and try to figure out what the Reds were doing to screw him up, and he’ll be back throwing bullets again. It might as well be the Giants.


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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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