2007 Reds / Reds - General

Cormier deal puts Reds in a bad position

Dave Lowenthal posted this on the Reds Listserv List:

So this Burton guy looks great and the Reds want him. Except, according to Fay, they’d need to probably get rid of one of their lefties (they could “live with” 2 lefties in the bullpen, he says….no kidding, I say).

Anyways, the obvious guy to go is Cormier. Naturally, though, no one wants him because he’s got a big contract. Why does he have a big contract? Because of that stupid deal Krivsky made (that some here said had no downside) when he not only traded that 5th starter candidate (can’t remember his name), but also *reworked Cormier’s contract*. Cormier didn’t do squat, and that reworking of his deal (adding a good bit of money to his option year and picking it up) is likely going to lead to Burton being offered back to Oakland.

That is just ridiculous. A bad, bad deal.

I guess another idea would be to just cut Cormier, but you know they’re not going to do that or pay someone to take him…but the question is, why did Krivsky want him and why extend his deal?

15 thoughts on “Cormier deal puts Reds in a bad position

  1. Well, congratulations on boneheaded comment of the day No. 2 before 9 a.m. This is just plain stupid. And without one ounce of foundation.

    There is a market for Cormier and one of the reasons is the contract. I stated on Lancaster’s blog when the trade and extension was made and have said so repeatedly since that the extension was a.) to get the player to accept the deal and b.) make him enticing for a trade.

    Teams are apt to give up more if the player they are acquiring gives them some stability. So, let’s say the Phillies (a suitor) want Cormier back. If they have him locked up for two years they’re likely to give up a higher prospect than if he can walk after a season.

    Likewise, a pennant contender who needs veteran bullpen help and thinks Cormier is the perfect situational lefty is more likely to give up more for that final piece. With that contract, Cormier is actually more valuable as the season wears along.

    Besides, this contract is nothing. He receives $2.25 million this year and the 2008 deal is a team option for $2.5 million or $250,000 buyout.

    Yeah, he didn’t pitch well after coming to the Reds and they really don’t need him. I’ve been writing on the blogs all winter that he’s trade bait–especially since he and Narron don’t see eye to eye. But he’s pitched pretty good this spring, he has a career history of getting out lefties, and he’s the kind of guy pennant contenders love.

    Honestly, this one wasn’t hard.

  2. I’m sure that teams are beating down the doors for, at best, mediocre relief pitchers who were born when LBJ was president.

    As for being a “situational leftie”…his OPS vs RH last year was .665, vs LH was .859.

    Over the last three years, it was vs RH .750, vs LH .769 and is all in addition to the fact that he strikes basically no one out.
    Don’t let the facts get in the way of your rant…

  3. Well, I’m the “bonehead” who wrote the original message. I suppose we’ll see if they can trade him, though we might never know if they could have if he’s not dealt.

    However, who wants a guy for 2+ million that is barely better, if at all, than a guy you have in your minor league system, like Shackelford. Shack was better, if I remember right, at getting lefties out…supposedly Cormier’s main value. Shack costs the ML minimum, whereas Cormier costs a lot more.

    I could see Cormier being tradeable in August, when some team with a large payroll doesn’t mind taking him on, but that would only be if he is actually effective this year. Last year he was, but most years he hasn’t been.

  4. OPS? Bah. What would you fantasy geeks do without the OPS fallback?

    Like, I dunno, use numbers that actually matter for relievers and managers: inherited runners and holds.

    And who says a situational lefty has to be a strikeout guy? (Still, Cormier walks too many people–always has)

    Yeah, Cormier has made it 16 years because he pitifully sucks. Dem’s the facts.

  5. i’ll echo bill that i see no evidence of cormier being a good situational lefty, which is why he sucked for the reds last year. He was doing well in philly, and then was brought here to, as marty said a million times, get lefthanders out.

    If anyone in the organization had clicked on that “splits” link on espn.com they would have seen that he probably wasn’t going to do that very well, although he may have gotten righties out.

    So it made sense to me when Narron was saying that cormier would be seeing more righties this year, at least he learns, if slowly. Cormier should be a decent if not good reliever if used correctly.

    all that said, i have to agree with mr. redlegs that he’s not going to be difficult to deal if they want to. a veteran reliever who will probably put up an ERA below 4 would have gotten more than 2.5 mil in free agency.

    if the reds are willing to pick up even half a mil of his salary he’ll be a steal, and i’d guess they could get at least a mid level prospect, clear some salary, and give burton a spot.

  6. Krivsky has done some good things, but he WAY overvalues being a “veteran” and “playing the game the right way” (which usually means “plays hard and is a nice guy and is not terribly talented”).

    I suspect he’s not much of a stats guy either. At the time that the Reds traded for Cormier last year, he had an eye-poppingly good ERA (1.59 in 34 IP), but it did not take a rocket scientist to see that was mostly due to luck (very low .238 BABIP – batting average on balls in play – when the league average is near .290 or .300).

    He regressed to the mean – beyond it, actually (.353 BABIP in 14 IP w/ the Reds) – and had a 4.50 ERA for us.

    There have to be at least 5 minor leaguers in the Reds system who were and are better than Cormier (and cheaper… and w/ far more upside), but Krivsky/Narron seem very reluctant to find out.

  7. By the way, Cormier’s most similar pitcher in baseball history, according to Baseball Prospectus, is 2006 Chris Hammond.

    Remember how that turned out?

    I hope I’m wrong… but I suspect Cormier gets released before the season is out.

  8. Shawn makes a great point about LaRussa (and most veteran managers) and Dave is absolutely right about Shack. However, you might recall the issues with Shackelford and his, um, off-field stuff, to go along with some general inffectiveness around the time of the Cormier deal.

    I am perplexed by some posts bitching about Cormier’s salary (actually, it’s way below MLB average) and yet another post that says release him. Say wha?

    I’ve seen enough of this high talk on these boards the past two years about the minor-leaguers that confirms most bloggers just don’t have a feel for the game that’s actually played on the field.

    If a GM or manager has a team that is a contender or in the pennant race they are not,/i> going to hand a key role to a minor-leaguer. They are going for the veteran guy who has a track. And you would do the same if you were on the field.

    Why? Because the veteran guys have been through this pressure and these situations and the minor league guy is so often overwhelmed by just bein gin the stadium. Plus, the remainder of your team has zero confidence in thart unproven guy. None. It sends a horrible message in your clubhouse.

    So you get the players who have a history of success with winning organizations in the big leagues. It’s a no-brainer with so much on the line.

  9. Mr. Redlegs, you’re great fun to have posting on this site! I’m not kidding at all. I mean, I almost never agree w/ you, but it’s great to have you stir the pot and always argue “the other side.”

    Anyway, referring to your 10:33 post… Cormier has walked 316 in 1219 IP in his career. That’s 2.33 BB/9. That’s actually a really good rate – clearly the best thing about his stat line in my opinion.

    And as for his 16 years in the majors, that says 2 things to me:

    1) He’s been good for a long time.

    2) He’s going to stop being good any time now… if it hasn’t happened already!

    He’s a major league pitcher, and he’s 40! How many pitchers – even good ones – are still good at 40? VERY very few.

    You could’ve said last year about Chris Hammond “He’s been in the big leagues for 14 years,” which was true. And he was 40… and it turned out he just wasn’t a good major league pitcher anymore, and he’s now out of baseball.

    I’ll say again, I’m a Reds fan and I hope I’m wrong. I just hate trading a decent minor leaguer for a 39-year-old reliever pitching over his head AND ALSO picking up his $2.5 million option for his 40-year-old season.

  10. Mr. R – why are you so sure that rookie pitchers are overwhelmed by simply “being in the stadium?” And that rookie pitchers, because they’re deer in the headlights, negatively impact the rest of the team? There are plenty of instances of young pitchers excelling in the spotlight and contributing to successful teams. Three recent WS champs have had rookie closers in F-Rod, Jenks, and Wainright. Beckett shut down the Yankess in the Stadium to clinch the WS. The list could go on and on. Poise can be acquired, but more often it is innate in the individual. Give me talent over perceived “presence” any time.

  11. Dan, thanks. I have been in a real Red-assed mood today. I’m not kidding. When my day doesn’t begin with a Krispy Kreme (or three . . . or four) and I’ve got all this f-ing work to do by Opening Day, raw/red/ass is pretty much state of mind and state of reality.

    I ruled out Cormier’s numbers from his years as a starter when looking at his walks. He’s strictly a situational guy. Frankly, I never thought he was any good.

    So all I’m saying is managers want the veteran guys. They always have, they always will. Ken makes a point about some rookies of impact. Sure, there are som every year. Some even help win pennants.

    That simply is not the norm on pennant contenders. A good example is just two years ago on the Reds. Yeah, it seems like an eternity. But they brought up two hard-throwing relievers who had good years in the minors, Allan Simpson and Chris Booker.

    They got lit up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. At one point I heard Brennaman remark something like ” . . . and there’s your difference in throwing that stuff in at Louisvile and bringing it up here.” So true.

    To every player the goal is to reach the big leagues. And after all the years in the minors and the lousy travel and lousy hotels and lousy lights and lousy crowds in the minors, those first steps into dreamland is almost universally a culture shock. How can it not be?

    You have dreamed of something since you were in Little League and here it is. You step out of the tunnel through the dugout and onto the field. Wow.

    There’s guys who’s cards you collected. There’s guys you’ve only read about or seen on TV. There’s the park. Huge and filling up (except in Pittsburgh). The dream has come alive.

    I’m telling ya, it’s one helluva adjustment for almost every rookie. It’s at that point when baseball simply isn’t baseball as you have ever known it.

    And yet it’s exactly what you always dreamed.

  12. Well, Marty making snide comments about a rookie means next to nothing, really. He rips on all sorts of people, with little regard for their actual ability or performance.

    Simpson was allowed to face all of 28 batters in 2005, and only gave up 3 hits and 5 walks. All 3 hits were in one outing, when he wasn’t able to get anyone out. Then, the last day of the year, he walked 2 guys and beaned Pujols – Shack and Coffey came in and threw gas on things.

    His ERA was crappy, but he pitched a lot better than the numbers. That, and 6.2 IP isn’t really a sample.

    Booker got even less chance: 3 games, 2 IP. He did get drilled: 6 H, 4 BB out of 15 batters faced, though to be fair all that damage was done in the same series against the Brewers. After three weeks on the bench, he pitched a perfect inning to cut his ERA from 63.00 to 31.00.

    I’m not defending either of those guys, and I agree with Mr. R’s general point that managers and players prefer to lose with vets than to lose with rookies. I’m just saying that there’s not enough data to call either Simpson or Booker a flop. It’s not like we’re talking about Santo Alcala here.

  13. Cormier needs to be traded or cut or losses with him. I much rather have Stanton and Bray, and Burton is young with an upside. I never liked the deal in the first place because I didn’t like giving up on Justin Germano, who I liked quite a bit.

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