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Sun Sentinel: Graves wants to be a Marlin

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Embattled pitcher Graves headed to Marlins?


Staff & wires


Posted May 24 2005, 2:44 PM EDT



Danny Graves is ready to make a South Florida return.


Designated for assignment by the Cincinnati Reds Monday, the former University of Miami standout has told associates he hopes to land with the Marlins.


He doesn't have a choice, at least for the next 10 days. That's how long the Reds have to trade him before putting him on waivers for the purpose of releasing him. The Reds would likely swallow the bulk of Graves' remaining 2005 salary, about $4.5 million, in return for a minor-leaguer.


Graves is in the final year of a three-year, $17.25 million deal with the Reds, with whom he lost favor due to a 7.76 ERA and making an obscene gesture to a fan after his latest rough outing Sunday.


A right-hander, Graves has 10 saves in 12 chances and played for manager Jack McKeon in Cincinnati. In addition, he was one of pitching coach Mark Wiley's charges in 1996-97 with the Indians.


If Graves is not acquired via trade and he clears waivers, he is free to sign with anyone for the prorated league minimum (about $225,000).


If the Reds were looking to shake things up by getting rid of Graves, they succeeded.


"To give up on a guy like Danny Graves -- I just can't believe it," first baseman Sean Casey said.


Graves couldn't believe it, either. He intended to arrive at the ballpark and apologize to fans for making an obscene hand gesture to one of them following his poor ninth-inning performance the previous day.


He never expected to be packing his laptop and the rest of his belongings in his locker.


"I feel like I've been given up on," Graves said. "It's a shock to me."


It was one final shock to a career-turning month.


Graves criticized fans for booing after the bullpen blew a six-run, ninth-inning lead against St. Louis on May 2. After that, the closer got rough treatment from fans every time he stepped on the field. The catcalls were as loud as ever Sunday when Graves gave up five ninth-inning runs in a 9-2 loss to Cleveland.


Graves walked off the field with his head down, got a drink in the dugout and then walked toward the steps to the clubhouse. One fan in the high-priced seats kept heckling him. Graves said that when he heard a profanity, he yelled back and made the hand gesture.


A day later, he was gone.


"A lot of the off-field emotions had something to do with it, and last night when I flipped the man off had something to do with it," Graves said. "A fan cussed at me. I regret doing it. I planned on apologizing today."


General manager Dan O'Brien said it had more to do with Graves' pitching than with his gesture. Graves' ERA was 7.76, and he had given up nine runs in his last three appearances covering 2 2-3 innings.


"I did hear about the incident after the fact, but the bottom line was Danny's performance, and the deterioration in that was the final ingredient," O'Brien said.


Manager Dave Miley watched Graves get worse as the fans' taunts grew louder.


"It became a confidence factor," 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."


Graves' teammates suspected he wasn't at full health, contributing to his problems. Rather than get rid of him, they thought the team should have done more to help a pitcher who is the club's career saves leader and was willing to do whatever was asked.


"It's just shocking," Casey said. "The only thing that bugs me about this whole thing is that Danny Graves has been so loyal for eight years to this organization. Anytime a manager has asked him to take the ball, he's never said no. He's never complained. You never heard a gripe out of him. You never heard anything out of him.


"I just think it's wrong. He's a guy you try to find answers for, to see if everything's OK with his shoulder."


Graves, 31, maintains he hasn't fully recovered from 2003, when he agreed to try to help the team by becoming a starting pitcher for the first time in his career. He went 4-15 and wore down, losing velocity off his 94 mph fastball. He hasn't gotten it back -- he's been throwing 88 mph.


"I changed roles and probably ruined my career," Graves said. "I don't know. I don't have the answers."


Graves' teammates pointed out that there were a lot more problems than just the closer. Cincinnati was 16-28 following a 5-3 win Monday over Washington.


"We've pitched terrible, I've pitched terrible," said starter Paul Wilson, who is 1-5 with a 7.77 ERA. "And Danny is taking the brunt of it. This hurts. This hurts a great deal. There's nothing Danny's done or said that would give them enough reason to do this."

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why would the marlins want him then?


Because he is a great closer just is struggling right now as is most of the closers. I dont think the Marlins will pick him up....we have to many closers, but he can be in the long relief also and not use Kensing.


Just a thought.

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Also, with Mota and Valdez coming back do we even have room for him? Alfonseca and Spooneybarger are coming back too. You can never have too many good arms but we have a lot of them alright.


No way would I send Joe Dillon down. Maybe Aguila should be sent down because he isn't playing much and Conine/Dillon/Easley need the most bench PT.

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Watched Graves closely last year (because I had him on Fantasy teams), so I am surprised the problems he's apparently having this Season.


And as far as his flipping the bird to an obnoxious, dirty mouthed fan... it wasn't "proper" but it demonstrates his frustration when he doesn't do well and an ignorant a-hole gets on his case. This wasn't a Rocker at an LI Ducks game. This was a fan, sitting close-by, who wouldn't give up.


I'm in favor of trying to get Danny Graves (and that Orlando resident wants to be here.)

We can figure out later which of our "good arms" should get some more work by going down for awhile.


Before this Season is over, Danny Graves will be an asset for some lucky team.

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For the approximately $200k it would cost to sign Graves, assuming his shoulder problem isn't career-ending or requires surgery, sign him, DL him and let him rest his shoulder until August.


I'm all for using our guys in the minors when they they are ready for the show, but in the interim guys with experience and who know how to win are the guys I want out there when the playoffs are on the line.


Graves has had an extraordinary career, he knows how to pitch and if the Fish can get 10-15 quality relief appearances from the guy when we are facing a tough September schedule it's worth the investment. Let's see what his MRI says (he was quoted as saying he intends to get one in the next few days) and if he "can" pitch at some time this season, I feel confident if anyone can get him back to form it's Wiley and McKeon, both of whom have worked with him previously.

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Here is my view and maybe I'm wrong here, but I think the guy deserves a second chance somewhere. I mean a change of location sometimes helps pitchers regain their confidence and their stuff (we saw that with Armando last year) and I think he could help us here. For the league minimum, I would be willing to atleast take a chance on the guy and see what Mark Wiley can do with him.

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you've gotta take a chance with him i mean for at least the sake of him doing well against the marlins...and theres no doubt that he's better than cough logan kensing plus we know that if we need a spot start that he can do it for us..


then if we have him in there and then everyone is healthy we've got 3 setup guys and 3 closers


mecir reidling jones alfonseca spooney mota graves...


if there all there at the same time though that memans that bump would be the odd man out unless we went with a 4 man rotation cause if we carry 12 pitchers than thats what it would look like...having too much pitching is a good problem to have.

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