For the second consecutive year, the Reds bullpen is in shambles. It appears that the team’s belief that “proven veterans,” no matter how old, are better than giving young pitchers within their own system a chance.

Last year’s trade with the Nationals robbed the offense of two major cogs and brought one ineffective, hurt reliever (Majewski) and one supposed “closer in waiting” (Bray), along with a low level minor leaguer coming off shoulder problems (Thompson).

Let’s look at some of the other names that came through the major league bullpen last year: Scott Schoeneweis, Eddie Guardado, Jason Johnson, Esteban Yan, Ryan Franklin, Rheal Cormier, Sun-Woo Kim, Rick White.

All Wayne Krivsky acquisitions and all, save one that is on the 60 day DL, gone by now.

And this year’s bullpen, at least thus far, is even worse, ranked last in the NL with a 4.63 ERA.

So, is there any help on the horizon?

Eddie Guardado, recovering from major elbow surgery, is just starting to throw BP, but he’s 4-6 weeks away, at best.

Bill Bray is still rehabbing from a broken finger suffered in ST and has only thrown two bullpen sessions. He hasn’t faced hitters and will likely be sent on a rehab assignment before returning to the Reds.

Gary Majewski has been throwing well, with no pain and hitting 94 on the gun, but has an ERA of 6.55 at Louisville, mostly from one horrendous outing. But he’s left the team to deal with a family tragedy and it’s not known when he’ll return.

And Jared Burton‘s getting clobbered at AA on his rehab assignment.

So, what else is on the Louisville roster? Where old relievers go to collect a paycheck…

There’s 30 year old Brian Shackelford? 9.31 ERA through 12 games. 30 year old Wes Wilkerson? 1.98 ERA at Louisville, but has never been in the bigs. If he was going to be a big leaguer, wouldn’t someone have taken a flyer on this guy before now? The same could be said (no experience or little success by 30) for 31 year old Ricky Stone and 30 year old Jason Kershner. Both have been effective for the Bats, but have limited success at the major league level at age 30.

So, the Reds don’t have any other decent young relievers, right?

There are two guys in Chattanooga that seem to have been forgotten by the organization. For reasons that I can’t fathom, both are repeating AA in an organization dying for young relievers.

25 year old Carlos Guervara (2003- 7th round)

2006: 2-3 3.72 ERA 49G 77.1IP 74H 27BB 89K 1.31 WHIP
2007: 0-1 1.76 ERA 10G 15.1IP 13H 5BB 20K 1.17 WHIP

24 year old Calvin Medlock (2002 – 39th round) (8 months younger)

2006: 7-2 2.97 ERA 42G 63.2 IP 54H 28BB 70K 1.29 WHIP
2007: 0-1 1.50 ERA 12G 15.1 IP 13H 2BB 21K .67 WHIP

Why were these guys not promoted sometime last year when the Reds team was looking for relief help? They might have been able to help at the major league level by the end of the season. Why didn’t they start this year in AAA, rather than 30 year old AAAA players? Why aren’t they there now?

Anyone have any ideas?