Blue Bios: Todd Coffey


July 07, 2011; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher

Justin Todd Coffey    60

Born: September 9, 1980 in Forest City, North Carolina

Bats: Right Throws: Right    6’4″  240 lbs.

Career statistics (through 2011 season)

Win–Loss

24-18

Earned run average

4.08

Strikeouts

311

Saves

11

Let’s meet Todd Coffey. He’s one of the newest Dodgers who will be joining the 2012 bullpen. Todd is a 31-year old right-handed pitcher who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 41st round of the 1998 MLB Draft out of Chase High School in Forest City, North Carolina where he was born. His grandfather, A.T. Coffey Jr., played semi-professional baseball with the Reliford County Owls.

Coffey spent a good many years in the Reds minor league system, but he missed the 2000 season with an elbow injury.

On April 19, 2005 Coffey made his MLB debut against the Chicago Cubs. He pitched in two innings and allowed two runs. He was a Red for four years, and pitched in 213 games for Cincinnati. He had a 12-9 record with the Reds with a 4.62 ERA and 9 saves.

On September 12, 2008 Coffey was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers after the Reds designated him for assignment. He went 2-4 with a 4.76 ERA in 69 games for the Brewers. He filled in for disabled Trevor Hoffman temporarily as the closer and picked up  two saves while suffering two blown saves while taking on that role. In his final season with Milwaukee, Coffey struck out a career high 8.1 batters per 9.0 innings and finished with a 2-4 record with 13 holds, a 4.76 ERA, and a team-leading 69 appearances.

In January 2011, Coffey signed with the Washington Nationals. He had a 5-1 record last season with a 3.62 ERA in 69 games. He struck out 6.94 batters per 9.0 innings. He became a free agent after the season, and on February 3, 2012 Coffey signed a one-year $1 million contract with the Dodgers which includes a $2.5 million option for 2013 with a $300,000 buyout.

Coffey has a good sinking fastball that can reach 96 mph and a sharp slider. The big guy is known for his sprinting entrances from the bullpen when he is called in to pitch. He has explained that the reason for his grand entrance is to warm up his legs and take the edge off.  When asked about whether he was concerned about falling or tripping on his way to the mound last season he responded by saying:

 

“No one has ever got in my way,” Coffey said. “I take a straight line, so they usually get out of my way when they see me coming. I haven’t slipped yet. In Los Angeles once, I kind of stumbled a little bit. I haven’t come close to falling yet. It is bound to happen. If it does, it does.”

 

Let’s hope his near fall at Dodger Stadium last season doesn’t affect his pitching this season in L.A. or cause him to abandon his trademark gallop.

Most likely Mattingly will use the red-haired hurler for middle relief since Kenley Jansen will be a set-up guy who may be on the heels of Javy Guerra the closer. Coffey, a ground-ball inducing pitcher, can handle pitching multiple innings and long relief. His versatility is nice since he can also fill in for set-up or closer if needed. Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, and Scott Elbert the lone lefty, will round out the pen. On the bubble are Josh Lindblom, Blake Hawksworth (who is recovering from elbow surgery and is also out of options), Ronald Belisario (who must serve a 25-game suspension), and a plethora of non-roster invitees. My guess is that Hawk, if healthy, will grab the 7th spot with Lindblom starting down in AAA.

Since 2005, Todd ranks 5th in ground balls induced among relievers with 683. Chad Qualls is first with 891 ground balls, followed by Shawn Camp with 765, Matt Guerrier with 732, and Mariano Rivera with 692.

Todd loves science fiction, especially Star Wars and Star Trek. Todd and wife Nikki have two daughters Hannah and Haley and son Harrison Todd.

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