The Cincinnati Reds have had a questionable off-season. First came the lopsided deal. The Reds dealt prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger; along with veteran/injury-prone starter Edinson Volquez for the San Diego Padres ace Mat Latos. For most of the baseball world, the trade was a wonder. It’s one of those deals where you’ll look back 5 years and wonder what the Reds were thinking. The Reds better hope their current core stay together. Who knows if first basemen Joey Votto will resign? Can Devin Mesoraco repeat his success at the major league level?
But now I am scratching my head a little more. On Wednesday, the Reds announced the signing of the former New York Yankees first-round pick Andrew Brackman to a 1-year Major League contract. Let me repeat this, the Reds signed Brackman, a 6’10” flame thrower, with a combined 5.11 ERA since being drafted out of North Carolina St. in 2007. What is even more mind-boggling is the fact that general manager Walt Jocketty signed Brackman to a major league contract. But hey, I don’t sit behind the desk.
However, I view this signing as a win/win situation for the Reds. Brackman, a Cincinnati native, could fit into the vacant closer situation, incase the Reds do not bring back Francisco Cordero. The details of the contract have not been released. I can’t see the deal being worth anything expensive. Maybe Brackman can find himself as a starting pitcher again?
The gamble is: Can Andrew Brackman find his old self? You always hear about the New York media and atmosphere. I’ve watched the media destroy players (I live on Long Island). Not only this, but you can blame the typical over-hyping of a Yankees prospect. The Yankees took a gamble when they drafted Brackman 30th overall in 2007. They knew he needed Tommy John surgery. His surgery took longer than expected and he wasn’t the pitcher that they drafted. Four years later, he’s released.
AOL News’ Frankie Piliere has a lengthy profile on Brackman. Piliere scouted Brackman’s fastball in 2010 at a steady 95 MPH, which isn’t surprising since he’s 6’10”. He has a sharp curveball and has a developing changeup, according to Piliere.
One of Brackman’s biggest difficulties has been control. In 2011, Brackman posted a 7.0 BB/9. To put it in numbers, he walked 75 in 96 innings. This is primarily because he does not repeat his delivery all the time. As you often hear, taller pitchers have trouble repeating mechanics (i.e.: Mike Pelfrey). This is probably the only part of Brackman’s game that is holding him back. And this holds him back a whole lot. By not having control, he has no place in the majors. And if he can’t pitch in the majors, you might as well place the label “bust” on him.
Whether or not Andrew Brackman can find himself, this is a no-risk situation for the Cincinnati Reds. If they keep him as a starter, who knows, maybe he can be the pitcher everyone thought he would be. If not, I feel he could become an effective closer. Maybe even a Jon Rauch kind of pitcher. But for now, the verdict is still out on Andrew Brackman.