Former Reds closer now unrestricted free agent

CINCINNATI -- Reds career saves leader Danny Graves cleared waivers and was released by Cincinnati on Thursday, freeing him to
sign with any major league team.

Graves, once one of the Reds' most popular players, was jeered
after yet another poor performance on May 22 and responded with an
obscene hand gesture.

General manager Dan O'Brien found limited interest in a trade
for the 31-year-old righty, due in part to a contract that
guarantees Graves $6.25 million in the final year of his
three-year, $17.25 million deal. The contract includes escalators
that increase the salary if he is traded.

Graves had struggled since joining the team's starting rotation
two years ago. His fastball has slowed substantially and his
control has eluded him. Back in the bullpen, the closer was 1-1
with 10 saves and a 7.76 ERA this season.

Graves angered fans by criticizing them for booing after the
bullpen blew a six-run lead in the ninth inning on May 2, helping
St. Louis rally for a 10-9 win. He was booed loudly at Great
American Ball Park every time he came in to pitch after that.

On May 22, he gave up five ninth-inning runs in a 9-2 loss to
Cleveland and heard catcalls as he left the field. He was in the
dugout several minutes later when a fan in seats nearby taunted
him. Graves yelled back and made an obscene gesture.

The Reds designated him for assignment the next day, saying the
move had more to do with his pitching than his hand gesture.