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SportingNews's Ken Rosenthal: Graves to Sign in NL East

Jun 06 2005 04:08 PM

]Graves to sign with Braves, Mets or Marlins

By Ken Rosenthal - SportingNews

Free-agent reliever Danny Graves plans to sign with one of three National League East contenders -- the Braves, Mets or Marlins -- a source with knowledge of his thinking told the Sporting News.

Graves, released by the Reds on June 3, is expected to make his decision by Monday night, potentially altering the balance of power in the NL East, baseball's most hotly contested division.

In 39 appearances since last year's All-Star break, Graves has posted a whopping 7.30 ERA. But his experience makes him attractive, given the shortage of quality relief pitching in the majors. Graves, 31, was 10-for-12 in save opportunities for the Reds this season.

The team that signs Graves will owe him only the prorated portion of the minimum salary, with the Reds continuing to pay the remainder of his $6.25 million guarantee for 2005.

However, Graves is seeking a one-year contract extension, though he might settle for an option year and/or buyout. To that extent, his decision will be at least partly financially driven.

The Marlins were widely believed to be the frontrunner for Graves, who previously pitched for Marlins manager Jack McKeon with the Reds.

But all five NL East contenders have bullpen issues, and the Braves, Mets and Marlins each boast an outstanding pitching coach who possibly could help the struggling reliever regain his effectiveness.

Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone is renowned for his ability to reverse pitcher's fortunes -- Jaret Wright was a recent example. Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson and Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley also are highly regarded.

The Rangers, Nationals and Cubs were among the other teams that had shown interest in Graves.

Graves has been beyond terrible this year, and even last year, he wasn't particularly good, despite saving 41 games. That being said, if it's only going to cost us $400K plus an option year, I'm fine taking a flyer on him, so long as it doesn't cost one of our effective relievers a job. (Effective relievers=everyone but DeJean.)

It's interesting how big a story Ken thinks this is--"Potentially alter the balance of power in the East" and all. I mean, Graves has been a solid pitcher in the past--he had a nice stretch between '98 and '02--but he's never been dominant. Strickland (who has yet to pitch for Round Rock, by the way. I've no idea what's going on there.) had better peripherals than him, albeit with a lot fewer IP and saves . . . And no fewer than three of our current relievers are on track to best his career averages this year . . . Anyway, the thought of him going to a rival doesn't exactly strike fear in my heart, but it's not like substituting him for DeJean would hurt us.

Jun 06 2005 04:15 PM

I read in the Daily news that Graves was going to sign with the Marlins,I suppose we'll find out tonight, Graves might pitch better as an 8th inning guy, no way he becomes the Closer for any team in the NL East except maybe the Nats.

Yancy Street Gang
Jun 06 2005 04:44 PM

He called us contenders!

I'm blushing!

Jun 06 2005 04:45 PM

He called us contenders!

Apparenly, he never consulted with Mssr. Delgado.

Yancy Street Gang
Jun 06 2005 04:46 PM

He made the mistake of talking to Delgado in Spanish.

Delgado hates that!

Jun 06 2005 04:59 PM


So many things for Delgado to hate: Playing for non-contenders; Being spoken to in Spanish; Being less than the best position player on a team; America; Freedom . . .

Jun 06 2005 07:20 PM

]Graves, released by the Reds on June 3, is expected to make his decision by Monday night, potentially altering the balance of power in the NL East

If by that he means the team that gets him will suck more if they let him close thats true. If he means that the team that gets him will drop their worst reliever i hardly see the difference.

As for the Delgado thing i'm definetaly not going there right now except to say he's a moron for thinking florida is better than new york (if you exclude him from both teams)

Jun 06 2005 09:50 PM

Danny Graves is not needed on this team.

Jun 06 2005 10:40 PM

Ken Rosenthal is now reporting it's between the Mets and Marlins..

Jun 06 2005 11:01 PM

The fish can have him, I'll enjoy rocking him when we face him in place of one of their better options.

Spacemans Bong
Jun 06 2005 11:21 PM

Rotblatt wrote:

So many things for Delgado to hate: Playing for non-contenders; Being spoken to in Spanish; Being less than the best position player on a team; America; Freedom . . .

Puppies, happy smiling children...

Edgy DC
Jun 07 2005 07:31 AM

So, did Monday night happen?

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 07 2005 07:41 AM




The Danny Graves pursuit is nearing its conclusion, and the Mets went into last night thinking they were the leading candidates to sign the reliever.

As it is, the Mets are at least one of the three finalists for Graves. An online report yesterday afternoon said the Mets were competing with the Braves and Marlins and Graves' agent, Alan Nero, confirmed the three finalists to The Post yesterday.

Nero added that Graves was expected to make his decision by this afternoon and said that several factors will come into play in Graves' decision.

"I think it's just a matter of feeling comfortable with the organization," Nero said, "and finding a place where not only he can contribute to their success but they might help him get back on track as well."

The 31-year-old Graves struggled this season before being released by the Reds, posting a 7.36 ERA. In 2004, the righty saved 41 of 50 games and notched a 3.95 ERA.

Edgy DC
Jun 07 2005 09:06 AM

I say no.

C'mon. No less than three young lefthanded relievers waiting for a chance.

Jun 07 2005 09:24 AM

I say no also but maybe he'd be a replacement for Mike DeJean (sounds like that would be the role they would envision).

Jun 07 2005 09:42 AM

It's not like we'd be giving up anything for him. $400K or so this year, maybe with an option or buyout for next year.

He's at least as good an option as DeJean and he won't be much more expensive. He adds even more depth to our pen, which never hurts.

Jun 07 2005 09:43 AM

I believe Rick Peterson said he could fix Graves in ten minutes.

Jun 07 2005 09:50 AM

The Mets need quality, and it's not at all clear that Graves fits the bill at this point. That Schuerholz appears to be balking despite the Braves needing bullpen help even more than the Mets or Marlins do speaks mouthfuls. For the league minimum maybe, but no options, and certainly nothing guaranteed beyong this year.

Jun 07 2005 10:24 AM

]Nero said, "and finding a place where not only he can contribute to their success but they might help him get back on track as well."

Sounds like a Leo Mazzone reference.

EDIT: checked out his bio on to get some insight as to where he might sign.
He went to the U of Miami - advantage Fish.
He was born in SAIGON - maybe the Oriental section of Flushing will be an attraction?


Jun 07 2005 11:47 AM news services

The New York Mets have signed free-agent reliever Danny Graves, who was released by the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday after clearing waivers, ESPN's Peter Gammons reported Tuesday.

Graves, once one of the Reds' most popular players, was jeered after yet another poor performance on May 22 and responded with an obscene hand gesture.

General manager Dan O'Brien found limited interest in a trade for the 31-year-old right-hander, due in part to a contract that guarantees Graves $6.25 million in the final season of his three-year, $17.25 million deal. The contract includes escalators that would increase the salary if he were traded.

Graves had struggled since joining the team's starting rotation two years ago. His fastball has slowed substantially and his control has eluded him. Back in the bullpen, he was 1-1 with 10 saves and a 7.76 ERA as the Reds closer this season.

Graves angered fans by criticizing them for booing after the bullpen blew a six-run lead in the ninth inning on May 2, helping St. Louis rally for a 10-9 win. Graves was booed loudly at Great American Ballpark every time he came in to pitch after that.

On May 22, he gave up five ninth-inning runs in a 9-2 loss to Cleveland and heard catcalls as he left the field. He was in the dugout several minutes later when a fan in seats nearby taunted him. Graves yelled back and made an obscene gesture.

The Reds designated him for assignment the next day, saying the move had more to do with his pitching than his hand gesture.

Jun 07 2005 12:09 PM
Graves to Mets?

Maybe Graves will take some of the heat off of Matsui.

On the other hand, Mets fans seem to be able to spread it around quite well . . .

Edgy DC
Jun 07 2005 12:30 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jun 07 2005 12:48 PM

I was looking for a shot of his wife Andrea for Wifey Watch II, and found out that he has a stepdaughter named Shea. So cool.

Also, for what it's worth, he was the 2003 winner of the Lou Gehrig Award. I guess he stil is.

Anyhow, all I've got so far is this picture of the Diggin' Graveses:

On edit: It's a funny shot. The kid seems to be toeing the rubber with his left foot, gathering himself like a real pitcher. But also, check out the height of that mound!

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 07 2005 12:47 PM

uly 20, 1996

SHELDON OCKER, Beacon Journal staff writer

Danny Graves wanted to spread the news. He called his parents and his fiancee in Florida to tell them he had won for the first time in the big leagues.

"I called home and they already knew," he said. "My dad was watching the game on satellite, and my fiancee saw it on SportsCenter when she was out at Chili's."

Graves worked the final 1 1/3 innings of the Indians' 5-4 win over the Twins on Thursday night, giving up one hit and striking out one.

The game ended abruptly, when Manny Ramirez started the ninth with a home run to tie the score, and Eddie Murray followed with a homer to untie it.

"When Eddie hit the home run, I didn't realize I was the winning pitcher," Graves said yesterday. "Charles Nagy congratulated me for getting the win. I said, 'Wow, you're right.' It was pretty exciting."

Graves has only made three appearances after sitting around for two weeks waiting to pitch. His initial outing was shaky, not surprising considering the rust that had built on his arm. But he got progressively better.

Moreover, Manager Mike Hargrove showed his confidence in Graves by allowing him to pitch in a late-inning situation with the game on the line Thursday night. It's all the same to Graves, who said he hasn't had to make any changes to retire major-league hitters.

"I go about the game the way I did before," he said. "If I have to make adjustments, I'll make adjustments."

The only surprise for him so far is the way his curveball has reacted.

"My curve was good again last night," he said. "I think it's because I'm throwing it more. I use it as an off-speed pitch up here. I don't throw a changeup."

And why not?

"I must have tried 20 different kinds of changeups and none of them work for me," Graves said. "I probably threw five or six at Buffalo, and they all got hit hard."

Graves can't throw a split fingered fastball or a forkball because, "My hands are too small. I have baby hands."

Besides, a change of pace pitch isn't quite as important for a reliever, who normally faces an opposing lineup only once. And Graves has been a reliever exclusively since enrolling at the University of Miami.

Someday I'm gonna be dignified and old.
cal koonce
276) Corey Lidle RP, 1997
Posts: 2250
(6/7/05 12:26 pm)
Reply Re: This Just In
Danny (Babyhands) Graves.

Wide BeeGee

The Mets should make him wear No. 13 and totally play up the fact his name is GRAVES and suggest that he's just a little crazy and might, at any moment, make an obscene gesture!

Jun 07 2005 12:48 PM

...make an obscene gesture with his BABYHANDS.

Yancy Street Gang
Jun 07 2005 01:09 PM

WFAN reported at 1 p.m. today that there's no deal with Graves yet.

Jun 07 2005 01:31 PM

done deal....


June 7, 2005, 1:09 PM EDT

The Mets have come to terms with reliever Danny Graves, cast aside by the Cincinnati Red last week, to a one-year contract and a team option for 2006.

Newsday has learned that Graves, 31, will earn the pro-rated minimum ($300,000) for 2005. The Mets can exercise a $5 million option on him for 2006, or they can buy out the option for $500,000.

Graves is earning $6.25 million from the Reds this season. Before getting released by the Reds, he went 1-1 with 10 saves and a 7.36 ERA.

The righthander won't report to the Mets for a few days, according to a person familiar with the situation. When he comes, he will likely start out as a setup man, but he could quickly challenge Braden Looper for closing duties.

Edgy DC
Jun 07 2005 01:41 PM

I know that Davidoff is a reliable vet, but what a dumb summary.

First of all, it's the Cincinnati Reds. Unless you're Horace Osterdonk, there's more than one. Stop trying to break the news first and copyedit.

Second of all, it would take a period of prolonged failure by Braden Looper before the Mets try Danny Graves as their closer.

Jun 07 2005 01:41 PM

he could quickly challenge Braden Looper for closing duties.

Easy there Ken. If what we're hearing about his fastball is true, he won't be closing any games anytime soon. A good move...even with the young lefties waiting for their chance. I hope it works out.

Mr. DeJean, the manager wants to see you...

Jun 07 2005 02:10 PM

Jesus, I hope Willie doesn't think Graves should even be challenging Bell for his role.

Hopefully Willie will be as cautious with Graves as he's been with Wright, Bell & Heilman . . .