Krivsky hoping 8-man trade to bolster bullpen will give Reds new life

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 17, 2006

Erase the letters “DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)” from the gate on the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. General manager Wayne Krivsky has performed CPR and may save the season.

After falling from first place and suffering a 9-20 record before the All-Star break, the Reds were diagnosed to be in failing health that could lead to an unwanted cure for its pennant fever.

Using his own version of a 911 phone number, Krivsky picked up closer Eddie Guardado from Seattle just before the All-Star break.

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As the Reds returned to action on Thursday, so did Krivsky as he pulled the trigger on an 8-man deal that bolstered a bullpen that usually brought gasoline to the mound when trying to extinguish an opposition rally fire.

The key components in the trade for the Reds were righty-lefty relievers Gary Majewski — the right-hander with mid-90 miles per hour talent — and Bill Bray, a left-hander with a deceptive delivery and a sharp, breaking slider he uses to get out both right- and left-handed hitters.

Adding the two relievers to Todd Coffey, David Weathers and Kent Merker should solidify a bullpen that has a 5.16 earned run average, second worst in the National League.

Lost in the transaction were two key components in the Reds offense, shortstop Felipe Lopez and outfielder Austin Kearns.

Lopez was an All-Star last year but thinks a routine pickup is police lingo for prostitutes instead of playing basic defense.

Kearns is a good defensive outfielder and solid offensive player on his way to a good season. A lot of teams have coveted the outfielder whom is popular with fans, but it was the Washington Nationals who had the best offer in the Kearns’ sweepstakes.

The Reds also got shortstop Royce Clayton in the deal to fill the hole left by Lopez. Although he has a good glove, Clayton doesn’t have much of a bat and, at 36, won’t be around very long.

Can you say Rich Aurilia?

“I think anyone who’s seen us play in the first half realizes that the bullpen has been a little bit of a soft spot on our team and I think for us to compete and get in the playoffs in the second half, we had to upgrade the bullpen,” Krivsky said.

“I think you can see by the price we paid to do that what this marketplace is like. It’s very difficult to get quality pitchers for the back end of the game.”

The Nationals got former Reds top-draft pick Ryan Wagner to fill a hole in their bullpen, but Wagner has struggled in Triple-A ball. The Nationals needed the offense of Lopez and Kearns since the trade of Alfonso Soriano is imminent.

Krivsky may still be in the market for a starter, but for now he may have plugged the most glaring holes.

“As far as the bullpen goes, these guys aren’t just for now. They’re for the future as well,” Krivsky said. “I know a lot of people will be leaving nasty messages on my voicemail, and I’ll have some who think it’s great.”

I wonder if Tony La Russa has called?

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.