Mods, feel free to merge this with other threads...
Guardado fortifies 'pen
Trade for ex-Mariners closer shifts Coffey back to setup role
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
ATLANTA - The way the Reds figure it, they've taken care of two problems with one trade.
The club obtained veteran pitcher Eddie Guardado from Seattle for minor-league right-hander Travis Chick.
"Closer," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "He's going to close as many games as possible for us."
That moves Todd Coffey, who had been closing, back into the top setup role.
"The biggest thing (Guardado) gives us is a chance to line up our bullpen like we haven't been able to in awhile," Reds manager Jerry Narron said.
The Mariners sent an undisclosed amount of cash to the Reds to offset Guardado's $6.25 million salary.
The Reds' bullpen was fairly effective until Coffey and David Weathers switched roles. Weathers struggled in the setup role; his ERA was 10.23 over his last eight appearances going into Thursday.
Coffey's ERA was 0.56 on May 23. Since, it was 7.02.
Coffey was more than happy to give up the closer role to Guardado.
"I think it's great," Coffey said. "I think it helps the bullpen tremendously."
Guardado's numbers this year are unspectacular: 1-3, 5.48 ERA, 29 hits allowed in 23 innings. But he was 2-3 with a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves last year.
"He hasn't been closing for Seattle this year," Krivsky said. "We're hoping getting back to it rejuvenates him. It's a role he's used to."
Guardado is not a prototypical closer. His fastball tops out at 90-91 mph.
"Our scouts say his stuff's still there," Krivsky said.
Guardado has a reputation as an excellent clubhouse presence, but he had grown frustrated in his diminished role in Seattle. J.J. Putz took over the closer job in early May.
"He's very excited," Narron said of Guardado.
The Guardado trade was one of several moves made by the Reds Thursday. Another transaction will come today to make room on the roster for Guardado.
Left-hander Michael Gosling, recalled Thursday, will be sent back to Triple-A Louisville. Gosling was brought up to give the club a long man in the bullpen after the 13-inning loss Wednesday in Milwaukee.
Reliever Brian Shackelford's demotion to Louisville was planned before his arrest in Milwaukee on suspicion of third-degree sexual assault. Shackelford was not charged and was released from custody.
Also Thursday, the Reds selected the contract of outfielder Dewayne Wise from Louisville and designated Quinton McCracken for assignment.
The club thinks Wise is an upgrade over McCracken. Wise severely sprained an ankle late in spring training and spent two months rehabilitating it. He has played well - .340 average - at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville since returning to action June 3.
"He's an outstanding defensive player," Narron said. "He gives us a left-hander off the bench. He's a good base-runner."
None of the other moves Thursday will have the effect of the trade for Guardado.
If he's effective in the closer role and Coffey goes back to putting up zeros as a setup man, the Reds are a world better.
Guardado led the American League with 45 saves in 2002 and was second in 2003 with 41. His ERA the last four years: 2.93, 2.89, 2.78, 2.72.
"He's somebody who's been in that role before," Narron said. "He's somebody who knows how to prepare. He has no fear of it."