Reds to announce signing of left-handed reliever Stanton
The 39-year-old, who played for the Giants last season, is expected to fill the closer's role.
By Hal McCoy
Monday, November 20, 2006
On a balmy spring day in 1997, then Cincinnati Reds general manager Jim Bowden extracted a jersey from his desk drawer and held it up, the back facing writers sitting in his office, displaying the name on the jersey: "Stanton."
Bowden thought he had the left-handed relief pitcher signed to a free agent contract, but the New York Yankees spirited him away with more money and Bowden owned a useless jersey.
Now, nearly 10 years later, that jersey can be used. The Reds and Stanton are expected to announce soon that they have agreed to a two-year contract. The Reds will announce Stanton's signing and the signing of free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez sometime this week.
Stanton is expected to fill the closer's role after registering eight saves late last season for the San Francisco Giants, who wanted Stanton back. But when the Giants wouldn't guarantee the second year on a new contract, Reds GM Wayne Krivsky offered to guarantee the second year and the deal was done.
Bowden did eventually get his man. As GM for the Washington Nationals, Bowden twice acquired Stanton in trades, but when he started last season 3-5 with no saves and a 4.47 ERA in 56 games he was traded to the Giants.
With the Giants he was 4-2 with eight saves and a 3.09 ERA in 26 appearances.
Stanton auditioned well for Krivsky in December, recording two saves in three days against the Reds on Sept. 4 and Sept 6, protecting one-run leads on both days. On Sept. 4, Stanton struck out the last two hitters, getting Adam Dunn on a called third strike, to preserve a 5-4 lead.
Asked the difference in his year between Washington and San Francisco, the 39-year-old 6-1, 215-pounder said of his Giants experience, "I spent a lot more time in the strike zone, especially early in the count. For anybody, that is a bonus. I had a little more adrenaline pitching in a pennant race (for the Giants). I've always been one to thrive in big games."
During his 18-year career he is 67-60 with 84 saves and a 3.81 ERA while pitching for Atlanta, Boston, Texas, the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Washington and San Francisco.
Gonzalez, shortstop for the Boston Red Sox last season, has agreed to a three-year $14 million contract pending his passing of a physical examination.