Writes Maura Johnston,
Nick Lachey is very upset about Danny Graves being released, and he can’t even complain to Jessica about it.
… What has happened to our once-proud Reds? (And I’m not referring to their record.) How can they justify releasing Graves, one of the most loyal and beloved players in recent memory?
Whether the excuse is his pitching performance or his controversial hand gesture, neither is valid in my mind. Granted, Graves was struggling a little this season; he’d probably be the first to admit that. But designate him for assignment? Come on! There were alternatives. Put him on the 15-day disabled list. Change his role in the bullpen and let him get his confidence back. Give him time off to clear his head and rest his arm, as the Reds did for Paul Wilson.
Obviously, flipping a fan the finger is wrong and probably should have been met with some kind of disciplinary action. But why get rid of a guy who actually embraced Cincinnati and said he wanted to play there his entire career? Graves is a guy who did anything and everything the organization asked of him, including becoming a starter against his better judgment. A guy who was a favorite among his peers and Cincinnati baseball fans.
What kind of message does it send to other players around the league? It’s not as if Cincinnati is a hot spot on the free-agent circuit to begin with. Try convincing a marquee free agent to come to the Reds now. Good luck! Graves deserved an opportunity to play himself out of a slump. He earned the right to apologize and be forgiven for a stupid gesture made in frustration. He showed tremendous loyalty and got none in return. Not even a year ago, he represented the Reds in his second All-Star Game.
General manager Dan O’Brien said, “Graves’ performance hasn’t been up to the standards we expect from the Cincinnati Reds organization” What standard is that? While we’re designating people for assignment, I’d like to nominate Reds general manager Dan O’Brien.
(Nick reacts to the news that his estranged wife is dating David Weathers.)