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Considering Danny Graves

Monday, May 23, 2005

Danny Graves has been designated for assignment by the Cincinnati Reds. According to ESPN, there was a hand gesture involved, but the real reason he was designated is that he hasn't been very good this year.

So now, I want to make a case for the Cubs to strongly pursue Graves. Below is a table of blown saves rates. By looking at the numbers, one can compare the average blown saves rate for MLB, the Cubs, Danny Graves, and Mariano Rivera from 1999 - 2004.

Blown Save Rates 1999 - 2004
Year MLB Avg Cubs Graves Rivera

After inspecting the table we learn several things such as:

  • The MLB average is between 30-33% blown saves
  • In general, the Cubs bullpen has been worse than the MLB average over that six year span.
  • Danny Graves has been consistently better than the MLB average.
  • Mariano Rivera is really, really good.

Like most Cubs fans, I long to have the security of a Closer... with a capital C. But Danny Graves is not a capital C kind of guy. In fact, despite posting some impressive saves totals, Graves isn't lights out... but he's a lot better than what we've had recently.

To stand on the sidelines, with no real knowledge of what is going on, while advocating a particular move is a luxury afforded to fans... and that is what I am doing. I may be ignorant of facts that are important, but I would go after Graves. While I certainly understand Chuck's position (in the comments) that the Cubs could wait ten days and get him on the cheap... I think the Cubs should move now. Graves may well be the best closer to move this offseason, and he would definitely improve a struggling bullpen.

Posted by Byron at May 23, 2005 6:14 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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What have we got to lose, except maybe more games? Hey, Byron, did you know Danny was born in Saigon in 1973? Do you know the story behind that? I don't.

No, I didn't. I wonder if his father was a military man...

As for what we could lose? Well money and opportunity cost. If the Cubs shell out some cash for Graves and then another player becomes available, you have to wonder where the budget is?

The attend-o-meter, which will soon be updated shows that the edge has come off the Cubs Ticket demand. I'm guessing all the revenues are down including Tickets, Concessions, TV & Radio ratings etc... so the Cubs finance folks might not want to add too much to the payroll.

But... I agree we can't lose much more than we've lost now.

Graves? Granted the pen isn't good, nor has it really ever been good, but I don't see what signing Graves does for the pen. Honestly, Hawkins #'s have been better than Graves this season. With Borowski coming back, and Dempster seeming to put a good rhythm together in the cloers role after his 1st outing, I dont see how Graves could be the answer. My idea of fixing the problem isnt taking up more cap space and another roster spot for a reliever with a 7.30 era, while having a 30.00 some era in his past 3 outings before being released.

You can't really compare team blown-save percentages with those for an individual one-inning "closer."

Team blown saves includes any lead lost in the seventh, eighth innings, or ninth innings. So just from the outset, a team will blow more save opportunities than any one-inning pitcher. Also, the numbers are skewed because if a guy pitches the seventh and protects the lead, he will be taken out; thus, he gets no save opportunity. The only way a seventh-inning pitcher gets a save opportunity is if he blows the lead.


Good point. I know that, but I don't know what else to compare him to. I know he's not ideal, but I definitely think he would improve.

Also though, the team blown saves numbers are a composite of all the relievers on the team... so a save was blown for each BS... and so BS is a pretty good measure of bullpen effectiveness. Adding a guy like Graves is most likely going to improve the overall effectiveness of the pen... if he pitches like he has historically.

If they can get Graves for a grade C prospect, I would be fine with it, I guess. He is nothing special, but it isn't my money. However, thinking about the fact that he wants to get his shoulder checked out, I take it back. Waiver wire or nothing.

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