The Enquirer gives the stats:

The Reds’ bullpen has the worst ERA (5.32) in the major leagues, has given up the most homers (42) in the majors and has the fourth-worst on-base percentage allowed (.357) in the majors. But the bullpen also is 14-8, with the fourth-best winning percentage among relievers in the majors.

The last has more to do with the offense than the bullpen.

The Reds’ bullpen has 19 saves and 13 blown saves. Here’s a look at the major-league leaders in blown saves:

Texas 18
Atlanta 17
Kansas City 17
Milwaukee 14
Reds 13
Boston 12
Cleveland 12

Another pathetic stat.

In April, the Reds’ bullpen blew two leads, but the team won one of those games and went 17-8 during the month.
Date Opponent Result Blown save How blown Reds record
4-6 Pittsburgh W 6-5 White Two runs in eighth tie score 2-1
4-16 at St. Louis L 8-7 Weathers Two runs in ninth give up lead 7-5

In May, the Reds’ bullpen blew three leads, but the team won two of those games and went 12-16 during the month.
5-10 Washington W 9-6 Weathers Two runs in eighth tie score 22-12
5-11 Washington W 5-4 Weathers One run in ninth ties score 23-12
5-20 at Detroit L 7-6 Weathers One run in ninth ties score 25-18

In June, the Reds’ bullpen blew six leads, but the team won three of those games and went 15-12 during the month.
6-4 at Houston W 6-4 Weathers One run in eighth ties score 25-18
Coffey One run in 10th ties score
6-12 Milwaukee L 6-5 Mercker Two runs in eighth give up lead 36-28
6-17 White Sox L 8-6 Hammond One run in eighth ties score 37-31
6-21 N.Y. Mets W 6-5 Hammond Three runs in seventh give up lead 39-33
6-29 Kansas City W 6-5 Weathers Three runs in eighth give up lead 43-36

In July, the Reds are 0-3 with the bullpen blowing two leads.
7-3 at Mil. L 8-7 Mercker three runs in seventh give up lead 44-39
Coffey Two runs in ninth give up lead

So, the really scary thing is that the bullpen is getting worse in holding leads. Blown saves seem to be coming in quickly increasing numbers and the offense hasn’t been able to overcome it.

There is no way this team can stay in contention for a playoff spot with a bullpen that seems to be completely incapable of holding a lead. Drastic changes have to be made and made quickly. Without knowing what’s actually available via a trade (and what we’d have to give up and personally, I don’t think you can afford to trade an offensive player because the improvement in the bullpen won’t compensate for the loss in offense. This is no longer a deep offensive team.), so you have to look inside the organization.

That will probably require some jockeying of the 40 man roster.

Does anyone see a problem with possibly losing players like Mays, Burns, Gosling (I would give him a shot at relief work up here before taking him off the 40 man), Wilson (Will he be any help this year and in last year of his contract), Balfour (Will he help them this year? One year contract for only $340K.) Miguel Perez (Will never hit at the major league level), and even Ryan Wagner (Is he worth holding on to, or is he done?), if it would mean bringing someone onto the 40 man roster that might help this team compete for a wild card spot?

I hope the Reds resist the pressure to bring up Bailey. The number of pitchers that have been successful in the major leagues under the age of 21 can be counted on one hand and so the odds are heavily against his being a big help at his age. Why start the clock on his options by putting him on the 40 man?

But I would have a car pool of guys coming from Louisville and Chattanooga to Cincinnati (and back if they aren’t successful) in an attempt to find a pitcher(s) that will help this team. Guys on the 40 man that I would try first: Chick, Coutlangous, Dumatrait, Germano, Gosling. Hell, I might even try Wagner. Other guys at Louisville I might look at: Venafro, Shearn, Salmon, Michalak, Kelly. Other guys from Chattanooga I might try: Alvarado, Till, Shafer, Guevara, Medlock.

Could they really do any worse than the guys that are presently here?

There are spots that could be made available on the 40 man roster and it’s worth taking a risk with some of these borderline guys presently taking up roster spots to try to get some help for the major league bullpen.

13 Responses

  1. Mark T

    I feel as frustrated as you – there seems no viable options here. Your suggestions aren’t bad, but seem a little panicky. Your refusal to give up a little offense in exchange for pitching are what puzzles me – take the blown saves statistic, and find me one player who has near the postive impact to counter that negative impact, and I’d agree with you. But we’re reeling with bad pitching, and playoff chances are evaporating right before our eyes. I’d say a trade is in order. Gwiffy.

  2. Tim P

    The bullpen must be improved within the next two weeks to stay in contention. I would agree that the Reds need to take a chance on some of the AAA/AA pitchers. But I wouldn’t rule a trade for a closer or potential closer. I wouldn’t trade Griffey but I would trade Felipe Lopez. The Reds have an abundance of middle infielders. I would bring up Olmedo and play him at SS or 2nd. If he plays 2nd then move Phillips to SS. To get pitching you have to give up something of value. The only other option would be to sign a ’07 free agent that someone is dumping.

  3. GodlyCynic

    You can’t trade a major offensive piece for middle relief. You can, however, trade a piece for another solid starter as Milton appears to be standing on the precipice of the cliff of last year, Ramirez has been fine but not the #3 guy you want come the playoffs, and, well, the number five spot is a disaster.

  4. The Mad Hatter

    I hate to say this but if we go outside the organization to fix the bullpen then we will be giving up way to much for the return we would be receiving. I am not happy with this bullpen just like everyone else. Actually the closest thing I remember to a bullpen like this with an offense like this is Sweet Lou’s Seattle team, with Griffey, Arod and Buehner. I’m starting to lean towards bring the minor leaguers up. It’s pretty obvious that Weathers arm is dead, Merkers back is as cranky as mine is and that a youth movement is needed. The old guy theory worked last year when at this point we were 20 games out but not this year. Bring some kids up, forfeit the money on the contracts of the current bullpen and DFA them and take a bullet on the starting the arbitration clock if they don’t work out let them go. Simple as that but this bullpen doesn’t deserve a paycheck right now.

  5. al

    at this point there’s absolutely no reason not to get rid of mercker and weathers. i’d get coutlangus and germano up with the team tomorrow.

    Also, i’d start asking the phils about tom gordon. i doubt it would be a possibility, but if we could get him by taking on his salary and giving up players who aren’t key parts of the mlb team or top prospects in the minors, i think we’d be in great shape.

    Coffey is clearly coming back down to earth right now, but he can be a serviceable set up guy. I’d feel a lot better about our chances if our pen was:


  6. al

    why do you think that? last i heard balfour was coming back well.

  7. Glenn

    I’m with Godly on this. Before we get held up, robbed or raped in a trade, I think the Reds should DFA Weathers and start looking at bringing up someone from our farm system. They certainly couldn’t do any worse and some youthful excuberance might lift that group up some.
    However, if that doesn’t work out, I’m afraid that the team won’t have much of a choice. Someone from the starting lineup is going to be sacrificed to save the season. Kearns would probably bring the most quality in a trade. I’d really hate to see that happen though.

  8. ohiobobcat

    Its a shame Wagner hasn’t developed, as he would/should be a key contributor now. I don’t think Claussen was/is injured, I think its all organizational smoke and mirrors to avoid a roster decision.

    The pen is incurring the wrath of all currently, but I have serious concerns re: starting rotation in the 2nd half. Can Ramirez match his first half production? Hell, can Milton? If so the pressure is minimal. Find a 5th starter with a pulse. If not, the season is toast…and the bullpen woes go on.

  9. al

    i think that’s going overboard. The reds need two productive arms in the pen (historically the easiest area to add to at the deadline) league average or slightly below from their 3 – 5 starters.

    EZ isn’t an ace and won’t pitch many complete games, but he can put up quality starts. Between claussen, milton, wilson, mays, dumatriat, a trade, and maybe bailey, i think they’ll be able to fill th last two slots.

    the bullpen moves just have to happen sooner than later.

  10. al

    i didn’t know the odds were so long, that’s certainly something to think about. If he does come up, it would only be in september, and i wonder if the number of pitchers who’ve succeeded at that age goes up if you just look at their first september call up.

    anyway, my point was just that i don’t think our season is toast if milton and EZ don’t have repeat first half performances. THey just need to stay halfway respectable, and we need to get 2 arms into the pen.

  11. Glenn

    I think you are right Al. Two competent arms in the bullpen would do wonders. The $64,000.00 question is where and how are the Reds going to get those arms? There’s only two ways. From inside the organization or from outside the organization.
    Don’t get me wrong guys. I’m not advocating a trade of someone from the starting lineup. I’m with Bill. I look at it as the last option. I’m just worried that the last option may end up being the only viable one. Quality relief pitchers are in short supply this year.

  12. Glenn

    A promising season is about to go down the tubes because nothing is being done to deal with the huge problem in the bullpen. There is not one single pitcher out there that I have any confindence in. I realize that I have a low tolerance for underperformers but I can’t believe that Narron is far behind me on this. He’s got to be p.o’d.

  13. Glenn

    I just read on Fox sports that the Reds aquirred Eddie Guardardo from the Mariners for Travis Chick (AA). The plot thickens… Someones about to get released. Please let it be Weathers!