From the Enquirer:
The Reds signed the veteran reliever to a one-year, $800,000 contract, with a $2 million mutual option for 2007. The Reds also have negotiated an escalating buyout provision based upon the number of appearances Hammond makes next year, general manager Dan O’Brien said.
Can someone explain the “escalating buyout provision”, when one sentence earlier it says there is “a $2M mutual option for ’07”?
All in all, seems like a good signing for the Reds. Hammond’s been pretty good since coming back in ’02, though he did seem to have a propensity for giving up homers last year. He did hold lefties to a .490 OPS and his ground/fly ratio the last two years has been above 1.0.
UPDATE (from Chad): I’m not sure the buyout stuff is going to matter, according to this tidbit from Marc Lancaster:
Hammond seemed genuinely excited to be back in Cincinnati. His wife’s from here and her family still lives here. He did say he plans on retiring after this season, but he’ll keep an open mind to returning if he pitches well and his kids want him to keep playing.
I’m not against this signing by any means, but OB still hasn’t addressed the situation of improving the starting pitching. The free agent talent pool of starting pitchers drops off considerably after Millwood. In the end, the addition of Williams may have already been the upgrade for this coming season.
I don’t have any problem with this signing. Hammond probably makes the bullpen marginally better, and that was a big weakness on the team last year.
The rotation is clearly what we should be worried about. I’d be very surprised if the Reds are able to come up with another starter before the season. While Williams makes the rotation slightly better, I doubt it’s enough for this team to be competitive.