Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reds Considering Long-Term Extension with Volquez

The Reds busy winter continues.  According to Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Inquirer, the team has entered into long-term contract discussions with right handed power pitcher Edinson Volquez. 
“We’re looking at both — one-year and multi-year,” Walt Jocketty said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll get something done.”
Volquez submitted a salary of $2 million when numbers were exchanged. The Reds countered at $1.3 million.
Volquez is a pretty unique case.  After being obtained in the trade that sent Josh Hamilton to Texas, Volquez put together a pretty impressive 2008 season going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA, 9.46 K/9, and 4.2 fWAR in 196 innings.  While his walk rate was unbelievably high (4.27 walks per nine innings), and his 8.0% HR/FB rate seemed unsustainable for a pitcher that makes half of his starts at Great American Ballpark, he showed flashes of the ace quality stuff many scouts had raved about for years. 

After making nine starts in 2009, his fortunes changed.  Over the last two seasons, he missed significant time due to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.  When he's pitched, he's shown inconsistent command and a penchant for allowing home runs in bunches.  Still, he's shown flashes of brilliance that gives the Reds brass hope that he'll regain the dominance that he showed during the 2008 season.  

Volquez is eligible for arbitration for the first time this year, so the Reds can afford to be patient.  Considering his history with command issues and injuries, it's smarter for the Reds to go year-to-year with an option to re-open long-term discussions at some point in the future.  While the reward for locking up Volquez is high, so is the risk.  The Reds would be wise to wait another year to see if he can not only tame his command issues, but also regain some of the dominant form he showed in 2008.

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