|The Reds can use some help at the back of their rotation and in middle relief, and they found some Tuesday. Cincinnati acquired Kirk Saarloos from the Athletics in exchange for Double-A reliever David Shafer. Both teams also will receive a player to be named later. July 13 update: The teams swapped minor league righthanders, with the Athletics receiving Julio Manon and the Reds getting Dan Denham to complete the trade.|
|The Big Leaguers|
|A 27-year-old righthander, Saarloos has split his big league career between starting and relieving. He served both roles for Oakland last year, going 7-7, 4.75 with two saves in 35 games (16 starts). Opponents batted .308 with 15 homers against him, and he had more walks (53) than strikeouts (52) in 121 innings of work. He’s a finesse guy without a put-away pitch, and he has to throw strikes and keep the ball down to succeed. He avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $1.2 million contract earlier this month.|
|Shafer, a 24-year-old righty, went in the 31st round in 2001 and signed as a draft-and-follow out of Central Arizona JC the following spring. He has an average fastball (88-92 mph) and slider, and he commands both pitches well. He spent 2006 as the closer at Double-A Chattanooga, going 1-2, 2.36 with 26 saves in 44 appearances. He had a 52-16 K-BB ratio and held hitters to a .204 average with two homers. He projects as a sixth/seventh-inning reliever in the majors.|
Manon, 34, made six appearances in the Reds system between Triple-A Louisville and high Class A Sarasota this year, going 1-0, 4.50 in four innings. He also has a 1-3, 4.66 record and one save in 45 big league outings with the 2003 Expos and 2006 Orioles. He has above-average velocity but is otherwise inconsistent, which is why he’s now on his eighth big league organization, not to mention stints with one independent league team and two Korean clubs.
Denham, 24, went 17th overall to the Indians out of a California high school in the 2001 draft. Cleveland traded him to Oakland for future considerations earlier in the year, and his stuff is a shell of what it was in high school. His velocity is in the mid-80s and his control and command are shaky. He went 2-1, 6.10 in 16 appearances between high Class A Stockton and Double-A Midland this year.
|Saarloos doesn’t have a high ceiling, but he can eat some innings and didn’t cost the Reds a top prospect.|