Continuing our discussion on the 2010 season, we’ll take a look at the Reds bullpen. Even with the trades of four relievers last season, the Reds are still looking at a long list of possibilities for the 2010 bullpen. They have a lot of depth, and after Cordero a lot of inexpensive options.
Closer: Francisco Cordero. The Reds would be best served to move him this offseason and use the payroll on a position of greater need and impact. I’m encouraged that he can be moved given that at least three teams signed closers to 8-figure salaries last offseason. Brad Lidge, Kerry Wood, and Brian Fuentes all received multi-year 8-figure salaries. Cordero has 2 years and $24 million remaining.
Internally, the job could go to Nick Masset. Externally, the Reds could look at a less expensive option like Rafael Soriano. J.J. Putz had his option declined by the Mets and is another interesting name to consider, but I think his closing days, if not his career, is probably behind him.
Multi-million dollar contracts: Arthur Rhodes and Mike Lincoln are due $2 million and $2.5 million, respectively, next year. Rhodes definitely stays with the team. Assuming he is deemed healthy enough to recover this offseason and play next year, Lincoln will be given a chance to earn his contract, too.
Arbitratiton eligible players: Nick Masset and Jared Burton just barely qualified as super-2Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and will have fours years of arbitration eligibility. Both players will and should be retained. The first year arbitration figures shouldn’t be too expensive.
40-man relievers: If all 5 of the above are retained, the other relievers on the 40-man roster will be fighting for just two positions: Daniel Ray Herrera, Carlos Fisher, Pedro Viola, and Bill Bray. Herrera and Fisher are the leading candidates.
40-man “5th starters”: The following players may be competing for the 5th rotation spot or for one of the few bullpen positions: Matt Maloney, Micah Owings, and Daryl Thompson. Micah Owings just barely missed super-two status and is not arbitration eligible. Thompson’s career future is in the bullpen, and the organization should shift him there this year to see if he could handle 8th/9th inning duties.
Minors: And even more internal choices, though most likely not on the opening day roster, are the following minor league pitchers: Logan Ondrusek, Sean Watson, Enerio Del Rosario, and even possibly Justin Lehr.