PDA

View Full Version : Mario Soto on Kirk Saarloos



OnBaseMachine
02-25-2007, 01:14 AM
Mario Soto on Kirk Saarloos:

On the 'loos'

Former Reds ace Super Mario Soto is in camp again working with the pitchers and teaching one of the best change-ups ever possessed by any pitcher.

Asked if any pitcher has impressed him this spring after a week of throwing, he said, "All the pitchers are looking up to me, from last year, but so far I can see Kirk Saarloos being real nasty. If he throws strikes, he's real good. His ball moves, never goes straight."

Saarloos remains one of several candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation and has bullpen experience.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2007/02/24/ddn022507redsnotes.html

Reds1
02-25-2007, 01:54 AM
I think he's a favorite in my book to get the 5th spot. It's going to be a good battle. Keeping it warm for homer

Strikes Out Looking
02-25-2007, 10:06 AM
I think he's a favorite in my book to get the 5th spot. It's going to be a good battle. Keeping it warm for homer

Actually, Milton is keeping a spot warm for Homer. At mid-year, if he's doing well (Milton) they can trade him and pick up some of the remaining contract or if he's pitching Milton circa 2005, they can just dump him for the remainder of the year and eat the contract. Saarloos may be in the rotation for the long run, Homer or no Homer.

BuckWoody
02-25-2007, 11:50 AM
Great to hear that coming from Mario. I am extremely happy to have him (Soto) in camp teaching the young guys. I hope he's agreeable to sticking with the club as a coach for the long term.

One thing though, I'm not too sure about Soto's media personality yet. Is he a guy who's short on praise and only gives it out when it's truly deserved? Or is he Sparky-esque, spraying praise and hyperbole all over the place.

Redsland
02-25-2007, 12:16 PM
The only pitchers I remember him going out of his way to praise last year were Homer Bailey and Todd Coffey. They certainly deserved it.

Of course, I may have blocked out an Esteban Yan sunbeam or Mike Burns attaboy.

:)

Falls City Beer
02-25-2007, 12:22 PM
The reason I termed the Saarloos pickup a great one was for the reason Soto is currently praising him: pitch movement. I'm a big fan of it. It's why I liked the Arroyo pickup last year. You can't really teach pitch movement, but if you naturally possess it, you can be taught great things to do with it. Kirk is my favorite pickup of the offseason without doubt (which isn't saying a ton, because the odds are still long against him).

OnBaseMachine
02-26-2007, 08:32 PM
Reds find value in Saarloos
New pitcher comes to Cincinnati with high praise from Hatteberg.
Click-2-Listen
By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Monday, February 26, 2007

SARASOTA, Fla. Scott Hatteberg couldn't sputter out the words of praise fast enough in mid-January when Cincinnati Reds General Manager Wayne Krivsky called to ask about Oakland Athletics pitcher Kirk Saarloos.

When Krivsky said he had a chance to trade for Saarloos, Hatteberg gave such a strong character reference that a trade was quickly concocted.

Saarloos and Hatteberg were Oakland teammates in 2004 and 2005, and Hatteberg watched a budding master at work.

"He has a great stuff when you're standing in the batter's box," Hatteberg said. "If you are anywhere else, watching on TV, looking at the speed gun, you'd think he is average. It is one of those things where you can only appreciate him standing in the batter's box."

That's because Saarloos throws a trash can at hitters sinker, cutter, changeup, "sort of a curveball, more like a slurve (slider/curve)," he said. Not only do hitters not know what's coming, but they can't find the his pitch location with a Global Positioning System.

"He doesn't throw hard, and you can't see the nuances on TV, but man, oh man, oh man, everything is moving, and you can't do much but beat the ball into the ground, which is great for our ballpark," Hatteberg said.

Beat the ball into the ground? That is symphonic music to Reds manager Jerry Narron's ears as he looks for a fifth starter and thinks about all the baseballs that fly out of Great American Ball Park.

"The ball really moves, and I know he doesn't throw anything straight," Narron said. "He throws strikes and keeps the ball down. We know he gets a lot of ground balls and we know he can start or pitch out of the bullpen."

Saarloos is only 27 and is experienced at starting and bullpen work. In 2005, he was 10-9 with a 4.17 ERA in 27 starts and two bullpen appearances. Last year, he worked more out of the bullpen, going 7-7 with a 4.75 ERA in 16 starts and 19 bullpen assignments.

As is the case with most pitchers, asking him whether he prefers the bullpen or starting is like asking children if they prefer split-pea soup or strawberry ice cream.

Asked about it, Saarloos quickly says, "Starting. Definitely starting. You know when you are going to pitch, and it's a completely different mentality. I enjoy the cat-and-mouse game of being a starter."

Saarloos says he has received no hints yet from the Reds, start or relief. "They told me to compete, and that's no worry for me. No big deal. I've been through this before. I just need to go out, get better every day and compete with myself."

About being Hatteberg's teammate again, Saarloos says, "It's nice to have one friendly and familiar face when you walk in the first day. We were teammates in Oakland and we also live close to each other in the Seattle area and get together for some dinners."

Hatteberg enjoys the dinners, but he enjoys his friend's presence as a teammate even more.

"He's a gamer and finds ways to win," Hatteberg said. "One of those intangibles. He has been underrated and undervalued. I'd like to see what he can do a whole year of starting."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2007/02/26/ddn022607reds.html

Topcat
02-27-2007, 12:34 AM
The reason I termed the Saarloos pickup a great one was for the reason Soto is currently praising him: pitch movement. I'm a big fan of it. It's why I liked the Arroyo pickup last year. You can't really teach pitch movement, but if you naturally possess it, you can be taught great things to do with it. Kirk is my favorite pickup of the offseason without doubt (which isn't saying a ton, because the odds are still long against him).

Perfectly said and if the odd's are against him then that is a true tragedy.

redsmetz
02-27-2007, 09:53 AM
I'm not certain that I buy that the odds are against Saarloos that much. My guess is that we'll see some trade movement prior to the season's start. I think some of these contracts have beens structured to facilitate moving some of these players and move them at now competitive pricing. I could be wrong, but I think this is going to be the case. We've got quite a longjam. Certainly some players here will be cut or sent to the minors, but I'm thinking will see some activity clearly some of the glut, filling in the system a bit more.

Sea Ray
02-27-2007, 11:39 AM
"He's a gamer and finds ways to win," Hatteberg said. "One of those intangibles. He has been underrated and undervalued. I'd like to see what he can do a whole year of starting."

Sounds like a Bronson Arroyo clone to me. Let's see what we've got here...

OnBaseMachine
03-01-2007, 10:07 PM
Saarloos seizes opportunity
Sinkerballer's versatility key to his value
BY KEVIN KELLY | KKELLY@ENQUIRER.COM

SARASOTA, Fla. - The last thing David Ross wants to see during an early spring batting practice session is somebody like Kirk Saarloos supplying the pitches.

"Even playing catch with him, the ball moves all over the place," the Reds catcher said. "He can't throw it straight if he wanted to."

Ross caught Saarloos the first time the sinkerball specialist pitched to Reds hitters this spring.

As a courtesy, Ross offered teammates a quick warning when each stepped into the batter's box for the first time.

"I know in live BP, the last thing I want to see is somebody with a heavy sinker right off the bat," Ross said. "So I was telling all of them that he's got a good, heavy sinker. I didn't want them coming in there and fouling one off their ankle or snapping a bat."

The Reds acquired Saarloos from the Athletics last month, and the right-hander is among the candidates to make the club either as the fifth starter or as a reliever.

He won 10 games as Oakland's surprise fifth starter in 2005 and began last season in the bullpen. In 35 appearances with the A's, including 16 starts, Saarloos finished 7-7 with a 4.75 ERA.

"I loved my time in Oakland," Saarloos said. "We made the playoffs. I met a lot of great guys. But I think here, with the way Oakland was set up and the way this team is set up, I feel this is a better opportunity for me."

The clubhouse included one familiar face. First baseman Scott Hatteberg was a teammate in Oakland during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The two have remained friends since, gathering with their spouses for the occasional offseason dinner. Both couples live near Seattle.

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky consulted with Hatteberg before making the trade.

"If he needed a PR guy, I might be it," Hatteberg said. "I'm a huge fan of his. He's just one of those guys that make a team better silently, is undervalued and under-appreciated.

"He's not much to look at in that he's a small guy (6 feet, 180 pounds). He does nothing flashy or spectacular as far as lighting up the radar gun. But he's a guy you just have to appreciate when you're in the batter's box."

Hatteberg also has a theory about how Saarloos gets so much movement on his pitches.

"He's got these circus fingers," Hatteberg said. "They're so small. I don't know if he can even palm a golf ball. I think that's why his ball moves so much.

"He cuts it, sinks it. You just can't do much except beat it into the ground. And for our ballpark, gosh, what a good thing."

The challenge Saarloos faces this spring is considerably different from what he faced in 2005.

This time he's not coming off a season that ended in injury, or worrying about his mother, Linda, battling breast cancer. She is healthy and nearing the two-year point of being cancer-free.

"That was definitely an interesting spring training," Saarloos said. "I was thinking more about my mom than baseball, but baseball kind of gave me a little release.

"I don't think they were really looking for me to win that fifth spot. There was about five of us going for it. I just kind of went at it day by day and didn't really say anything, just worked hard and tried to let everything that happened on the field speak for itself."

He's taking the same workmanlike approach with the Reds this spring.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070228/SPT04/702280378/1071