No doubt feeling pretty bullet proof after fixing Francisco Liriano the Pirates and pitching coach Ray Searage have taken on any even bigger reclamation projection in Edinson Volquez.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Volquez has agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal, which is pretty nice money for someone coming off a 5.71 ERA.
As a 24-year-old Volquez had a 3.21 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 196 innings, but injuries followed and in five years since then he’s failed to post a sub-4.00 ERA. He was a mess this year, issuing 4.1 walks per nine innings, uncorking 16 wild pitches, and allowing a league-high 108 earned runs in 170 innings.
Volquez still throws hard, averaging 92.5 miles per hour with his fastball, but at age 30 his raw stuff is no longer overpowering and his control has always been awful. If he turns into a mid-rotation starter or better for the Pirates … well, Searage deserves a huge raise.
Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:
Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.
The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.
The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.