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Thread: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

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    Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Notes: Cordero should ease minds
    Players excited about reliable addition to back of bullpen
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    CINCINNATI -- The Reds making a big splash in the free agent market? Their players can get used to that.

    While some circles have criticized the Reds for overspending, several players on Cincinnati's roster were impressed that the team was thinking big with the addition of closer Francisco Cordero. On Wednesday, Cordero was formally signed to a four-year, $46 million contract with a $12 million club option for a fifth year.

    "This is something I've wanted since I've been with the Reds," said left fielder Adam Dunn, who debuted with Cincinnati in 2001. "That's what [owner/CEO Bob] Castellini has preached and what's he's been doing. He doesn't want to rebuild. He wants to win now. He's shown it. Our job now is to go out and do it. It's what we've waited on since I've been here."

    The 72-90 finish for fifth place in the National League Central gave the Reds their seventh straight losing season. The team rarely made bold expenditures in the market during that span.

    Cordero saved 44 of 51 games for the Brewers last season and had a career-high 49 saves with the Rangers in 2004. He's also a two-time All-Star.

    "Any time you get a guy with 40-plus saves, it's never a bad thing," reliever Jared Burton said. "It can only help us."

    It was a very steep price to pay for upgrading the bullpen -- it's the most guaranteed money ever given to a reliever and the biggest free agent signing in club history. But those asked felt it was money well spent, because it addressed the club's primary weakness last season.

    "I knew we'd try for bullpen help, but you only heard about A-Rod and [Johan] Santana," catcher David Ross said. "I don't think the Reds got enough recognition for doing a big signing. It's a huge, huge, thing for us to get someone for the back of the bullpen. It's nice to see the Reds go and do a really big pickup for our biggest need. It's nice to see them willing to go the extra mile."

    David Weathers will move to an unspecified setup role along with Burton, who emerged as a solid option in his rookie year with a 2.51 ERA in 47 games -- including a 1.83 ERA after the All-Star break.

    "As long as Weathers and I pitch the way we did last year and with the addition of Cordero, if we have a lead after six, we should be in good shape," Burton said.

    Rotation ace Aaron Harang believes he'll feel better handing over a lead next season. Last season, Reds relievers were 23-31 and notched only 34 saves in 61 chances (33 by Weathers). The club allowed 123 eighth-inning runs.

    "It shows us that we're definitely trying to improve from last year," Harang said. "The eighth inning killed us last season. If we can get someone to take over the eighth and get it to a solid closer, that's huge for us. I'm trying to go nine innings all the time and not have to give the closer work. But it makes me more at ease to know on the days I don't go nine, I can go seven or eight innings and have the bullpen come in and shore it up."

    Breaking it down: The Associated Press revealed the breakdown of Cordero's contract. The 32-year-old will receive a $500,000 signing bonus and be paid $8.5 million in 2008. The salary jumps to $12 million for each of the final three seasons with full no-trade protection for the first two seasons and a limited no-trade clause after that.

    Thoughts on future? Dunn is heading into the option year of a contract that will pay him $13 million this season. Eligible to be a first-time free agent next winter, he was asked Thursday if aggressive acquisitions like Cordero's would make him more open to signing an extension with Cincinnati. There have yet to be any talks, he indicated.

    "Hopefully, at some point we'll get to that," Dunn said. "I'm enjoying the offseason and I'll deal with it when it comes."

    Cueto update: Through six Dominican Winter League starts, Reds pitching prospect Johnny Cueto is 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA and 31 hits in 31 2/3 innings for Aguilas Cibaenas. Cueto has walked seven and struck out 37.

    I am surprised that the Reds have yet to to have any talks with Dunn about an extension. They need to sort that out if they are considering trading Hamilton. Cueto seems to be doing well in the Winter Leagues, and I am glad the team is excited about Cordero.

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    glad to hear Dunn excited... now sign him to an extension!
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Harang will win 20 games this year if this works out.

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    I'm starting to get more excited about Cueto. I hope they give him a legit shot in ST.
    Who's on first?

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    If the Reds can add another solid pitcher and have a rotation of:
    Harang
    Arroyo
    Solid #3 (Blanton, Clement, Willis)
    Bailey
    Cueto

    I would be VERY excited about their chances in 2008.

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty622 View Post
    If the Reds can add another solid pitcher and have a rotation of:
    Harang
    Arroyo
    Solid #3 (Blanton, Clement, Willis)
    Bailey
    Cueto

    I would be VERY excited about their chances in 2008.
    Just my opinion, but Willis and Clement are not solid # 3's.
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Willis is CLements not

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Quote Originally Posted by fewfirstchoice View Post
    Willis is CLements not
    Willis isnt even a number 4 bases on his last couple years

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Clement gets a bad rap because of his time spent in Boston but in his 3 years with the Cubs he was a real solid pitcher. If he has fully recovered from his injury, i would have no problem with the Reds going out and taking a chance on him because he did not have a horrible injury history before 2006.

    Willis, I truly beleve, just had a bad year. It happens. In his 4 years before last he posted ERAs of 3.31, 4.02, 2.63, and 3.87. Thats pretty damn good. If the Reds can get him without giving up a ton and he returns to form then they would have made a great move. If he continues to regress then they havent lost that much. Hes just a guy that i think is an upgrade from our current #3, Belisle, that we could go out and get for relitively cheap.

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Clement is a risk i'm willing to take if it doesn't cost too much. He was very solid IMO for the Cubs in the games that I saw him pitch.
    Follow me on twitter @EricLilly7

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Clement gets a bad wrap because hes been bad for 3 years even when he was healthy

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Clement's last 3 years:

    2004 30 GS 181 INN 9-13 3.68 ERA 190ks 77BB
    2005 32 GS 191 INN 13-6 4.57 ERA 146ks 68BB
    2006 12 GS 5-5 6.61 ERA 43ks 38BB

    He was bad for the one year that he was injured. In both other years he was better than what Matt Belisle could give us and I would say has stats comparable to what Bronson Arroyo brings to the table.

    I think that people are dreaming if they are looking for the Reds to sign or trade for a starter that is much better than Matt Clement. They just spent a lot of money on a closer and probably will not be looking to increase payroll too much more than they already have. A guy like Matt Clement would be an ok signing for a small market spender like Cincinnati, and if he passes his physical I would not mind him on the Reds at all.
    Last edited by schmidty622; 11-30-2007 at 07:36 PM.

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty622 View Post
    If the Reds can add another solid pitcher and have a rotation of:
    Harang
    Arroyo
    Solid #3 (Blanton, Clement, Willis)
    Bailey
    Cueto

    I would be VERY excited about their chances in 2008.
    We most likely will not see Cueto on the Reds until September. I expect the Reds will give him plenty of time in AAA, unless he totally dominates, which could happen.

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    Re: Players excited about the back of the bullpen

    Some interesting thoughts on why Cordero "makes the Reds and instant contender."
    Your starting pitcher has just given you six quality innings and your team either has the lead or is tied heading into the seventh. How often do you expect your bullpen to pull out a victory? If you are the 2007 Boston Red Sox, you’ll win 90% of the time. If you are the Cincinnati Reds, it’s only 67% of the time. Here is the kicker. Boston was ahead or tied after 6 innings 95 times in 2007. Cincinnati was in the same boat 94 times. The difference in success and mediocrity came down to the bullpen. This is the case all over baseball. This is why three quality arms in your pen will win you games.


    The Reds money was well spent on Cordero. He gives them a chance.


    I don’t care about your mop-up guys. Let them eat up some innings and develop their young talent until they can actually contribute. I am talking about when the game is on the line and you have to bring in 3 guys to nail down that win. Those 3 guys are the most important on your team. If you have to pay to get them, so be it. They are your true bullpen. In 2008, those guys will be Jared Burton, David Weathers and Francisco Cordero in Cincinnati.

    Let’s look at the numbers. The top 8 teams in baseball last season were: Boston (96-66), Cleveland (96-66), New York Yankees (94-68), LA of Anaheim (94-68), Colorado (90-73), Arizona (90-72), Philly (89-73), and Seattle (88-74). In that order, games in which they were tied or ahead after 6 innings were 95, 100, 105, 93, 97, 96, 90, 97. Cincinnati would have fallen right in to that group. On average, they converted a win in 84% of those games (tops being Boston’s 90% and LA and Seattle with 87%).

    Obviously, heroic come-from-behind victories complete your total number of wins after the ahead or tied games are converted. Cincinnati had 9 of those in 2007. The top 8 teams in baseball ranged from 6 - 13 wins after trailing late. Again, the Reds would have fallen right in with the group.

    The dreaded 7th-8th-9th bullpen rotation is why every team either sucks or dominates. Most teams in baseball have a chance after 6 innings in 90-95 games every year. If you solidify those roles, and they stay healthy, you win. Period. Burton (with a 2.51 ERA), David Weathers (Cincinnati was 62-1 when leading after 8, he was a big part) and Cordero (converted 44 of 51 save opportunities) solidify Cincinnati’s true bullpen.

    Comparing Cincinnati at 72-90 last season with Seattle at 88-74 (where we want to be), you can see the importance. The Reds were 63-31 in 94 games tied or ahead after 6, winning 9 additional games after trailing. Seattle went 78-12 in only 90 games ahead or tied after 6, adding 10 come-from-behind victories. The difference was 7th-8th-9th conversion.

    Bottom line, if Cincinnati converted 84% of those 94 chances for 79 wins and added 9 come from behind wins, they go 88-74 and win the Central. I am confident (going off of the 2007 performances of Burton, Weathers and Cordero) that the Reds can convert that 84% in 2008. Cincinnati did not have that third guy in 2007. That is why Fransisco Cordero makes them an instant contender.

    If you agree with me, run over to the Cutman’s (Alan Cutler) blog and vote yes. If not, you can go vote no if you want. Plus, check out the last picture of Marty and Joe.
    Link


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