McCoy: Reds continue to focus on pitching
When the disastrous 2011 season concluded for the Cincinnati Reds, general manager Walt Jocketty sifted through the wreckage and made a quick determination.
His team, for certain, needed quick fixes in one location: pitching, pitching, pitching.
Jocketty has spent the winter doing just that, using more than super glue to make the fixes.
First, he added starter Mat Latos via trade with the San Diego Padres, giving up failed starter Edinson Volquez, first baseman Yonder Alonso, catching prospect Yasmani Grandal and pitching prospect Brad Boxberger.
Second, he added setup reliever Sean Marshall via trade with the Chicago Cubs, giving up starting pitcher Travis Wood and a couple of minor-league prospects.
Third, he came to terms with closer Ryan Madson a one-year $8.2 million deal.
Pitching, pitching, pitching.
With the St. Louis Cardinals weakened by the departure of Albert Pujols and with the Milwaukee Brewers weakened by the imminent departure of free agent Prince Fielder and a 50-day suspension hanging over the head of outfielder/MVP Ryan Braun, Jocketty is trying to load up to take command of the National League Central.
Madson will take the place of closer Francisco Cordero, a free agent.
Madson agreed to a one-year deal after a four-year $44 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies collapsed in November. Instead, the Phillies signed free-agent closer Jonathan Papelbon away from Boston to a $50 million deal.
That left Madson as a man without a team, despite outstanding success with the Phillies last year.
Most noteworthy about Madson is that he does not give up home runs, only two last year while pitching mostly in homer-friendly Citizens Bank Field in Philadelphia. And he doesn’t walk a lot of batters, only 16 walks in 60-2/3 innings last year.
That firmly fits inside the cozy confines of hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, a playing field similar to Citizens Bank Park.
The Reds have not announced the signing because Madson first must pass a physical before the deal becomes official.
Madson is more than an adequate replacement for Cordero. He saved 32 games in 34 chances last year for the NL East champions. The Reds declined a $12 million option on Cordero, choosing instead to pay him a $1 million buyout.
In 491 career games, including 18 starts, Madson is 47-30 with a 3.59 ERA with 52 saves.