Following the 2020 season the Cincinnati Reds traded away Raisel Iglesias and they non-tendered Archie Bradley. The team was still returning Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, Tejay Antone, and Michael Lorenzen – but the latter two were also in contention for a spot in the rotation. Cincinnati had spots to fill.

Fast forward a few months and Michael Lorenzen is injured and won’t be eligible to return for another six weeks. The bullpen has been filled with Sal Romano, Carson Fulmer, Cam Bedrosian, Sean Doolittle, Cionel Pérez, and while he hasn’t pitched in relief yet – José De León.

The results early on, despite a 7-5 start, have been quite mixed. Tejay Antone, who may have been heading to the rotation if an injury didn’t set him back and leave him ready to pitch in shorter outings to start the year but not ready to throw 90 pitches, has been outstanding thus far while throwing 6.2 shutout innings over three appearances. Carson Fulmer has a 1.17 ERA through 7.2 innings pitched and has allowed just one inherited runner to score. Sal Romano’s ERA sits at 4.22, though it should be 3.38 given that there’s no way a dropped pop up should not be an error – but as things stand right now, no error was called and it led to a run that shouldn’t have been. And then there’s Lucas Sims who has pitched in five games and allowed baserunners in just one of them – giving up two runs in his 4.1 innings.

But beyond those four guys that’s where things get a bit questionable over the first two weeks. Cam Bedrosian has more walks than innings pitched and a WHIP of 2.79. There’s no slicing up his performance – it’s been bad thus far. Cionel Pérez has an ERA of 8.31 with more walks than innings pitched. Much like Bedrosian, there’s not much you can point to and say he hasn’t struggled to this point in the season.

Amir Garrett has pitched in just three games, and he last pitched a literal week ago. But he’s allowed runs in two of his three games – both wins for the Reds – but his ERA sits at 15.00 and he has more walks than innings pitched. And then there’s Sean Doolittle. He’s pitched in six games and allowed two earned runs in 4.2 innings while striking out eight batters. That’s not bad. But he’s also allowed three of four inherited runners to score. Those weren’t charged to his ERA, but it’s not ideal. Much like Garrett, though, the Reds won both games in which he allowed inherited runners to score.

The Reds offense has been out to a strong start. No team is remotely close to them in runs scored per game in Major League Baseball. But they aren’t going to average 6.25 runs per game for the season, either. That means they’re going to have less wiggle room to work with when it comes to iffy to poor performances from the pitchers.

A guy who has proven it like Amir Garrett has is not likely much of a concern. But there are plenty of questions to be had about some of the other guys who are struggling at this point. It’s still early and there’s time to let things shake out, adjust, alter, and simply just execute better. But something along those lines does need to take place. Currently the Reds team ERA among relievers is 4.70 – the 8th worst in the league. That has to improve if the team is going to continue to compete within the division.

40 Responses

  1. Scott C

    The other side of that is that Antone should be starting, but I doubt that is going to happen at least until Lorenzen comes back.

  2. Klugo

    We probably have one of, if not THE, worst defensive SS in the game right now (love you Geno, but it’s true right now); although Moustakas’ play at 3rd and India’s play at 2nd has balanced it out somewhat. And we let two of our best relievers go to basically cut cost and essentially never use it on like , you know, a SS.
    Despite our record, I’d grade this off-season a D, at best.

    This team is winning in spite of their GM. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Nice job, Krall.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Was it Nick Krall that cut the teams budget or was it the ownership? Krall can’t do much of anything if he can’t spend any money can he?

      • Klugo

        That’s too easy, imo. That’s what every Krall defender wants to say. But do we really know that? A GMs job is not just to throw money at guys. The good ones are creative, innovative, persuasive. I haven’t seen, heard, or received any inkling of that from or about Krall.
        My (very uneducated) guess just by looking around at the crime scene is that Krall was given resources, albeit probably limited ones, and he couldn’t and didn’t get the job done. If your a GM of a professional baseball team, there should be no excuses, just results.
        That’s my opinion.

      • Klugo

        I got the opposite feeling from Dick Williams. He instilled some confidence that something was going to get done and he did it.

      • RojoBenjy

        Who was it that made meaningless moves last season to get Bradley Jr and Brian Goodwin? A waste of prospects. I really would have loved to have kept Packy Naughton, especially seeing as how the Reds have ZERO to show for giving him up.

        That’s my main beef with the off-season. Is that on the owners or on the GM? It’s an honest question.

        A back door win for the off season is that they didn’t overpay to get a short term SS solution.

      • Doug Gray

        Just using the context clues, I’d say it was very much the owner(s).

        The made the acquisition of Bradley last year, and Goodwin. That cost them money, and they knew it would cost them money to keep them around (if they chose to, of course).

        The offseason began with them saying they wanted to go out and acquire a shortstop. That was going to cost them money (in salary to pay him).

        Then the team non-tendered guys and traded Raisel Iglesias, and still didn’t seem to have any money.

        To me, that reads like the ownership group decided after the offseason began that they weren’t spending money, and in fact wanted to cut back on money spent.

      • JayTheRed

        I’m with Doug and a few others here. Ownership holds the wallet open or closed, not the GM. Williams was one of the better GM’s I have seen in my lifetime of 45 years for the Reds.

        I’m not going to judge what Krall has done thus far based on this past offseason. Now if he makes a bunch of bonehead moves over this coming offseason then Ill throw him to the sharks.

      • John Moteff

        Seems to me a majority of the people on this site were more than ready to let Inglesias go (not for free mind you). And altho the Bradley move seemed suspect, he’s not started well in his new home. Dolittle is a gamble, that may or may not payoff. Get Amir back on track and Lorenzen back and the BP will improve. Would be nice to replace they others..maybe Greene at the end of the year.

        I think Krall does not have the persona of Dick Williams. I wouldn’t mistake that for not having an idea of what he is doing.

        By the way, where is Amir??

    • scotly50

      Suarez was not a good defender when at third base either. He seems to have a strong arm, but takes forever to release the ball after catching it.

      • JayTheRed

        I have noticed this too watching him thus far this season. I’m sitting there like why did he take so long to throw it to 2nd base. I will say this if we are contending near the trade deadline and they don’t get an improvement at SS with all of these potential big name SS next off season being free agents. That’s bad then. Castellani said in his interview that they were holding some money to do something if it was warranted later in the season, We see if that is actually true or not.

  3. Toby Combs

    Ok here we go how many hits and or homeruns have Wiker hit since being placed in the starting role. We have a grear outfield switchinh daily. The outfield needs to be by commite the reds stopped winning when Winker was inserted in the lineup to replace the mlb homerun hitter

    • Matt WI

      Seems like the wrong fish to fry… The day we’re saying that someone slashing .391/.440/.609 is a mistake in the lineup, I’d love to see what the rest of the team looks like that can top that. Also, Winker is not a member of the bullpen.

      Naquin is now .265/.359/.735. His power surge has been fantastic, but I think the clear eyed take is that the longer he’s out there, the more likely he is to be more like Dietrich than DiMaggio.

      • Doug Gray

        Yeah, this is a weird comment to have made given that the entire article is about the bullpen….

      • ClevelandRedsFan

        I will say this about Winker’s pitching stats though:

        ERA: 0.0
        WHIP: 0
        Least walks allowed on team
        Least hits/homeruns allowed

        Maybe he can pitch and play SS at the same time. Am I in the right article?

    • ScreaminRat

      First of all, correlation does not imply causation. Just because they started losing around the same time doesn’t mean it was because of Winker. You know what else happened around that time? The Reds had a West Coast road trip.

      Secondly, Naquin is almost 30 years old and has been in the league for 6 years now. He is a roughly league average hitter, and while his hot streak is fun, it doesn’t mean he’s suddenly become Mike Trout. Winker is, even factoring in his bad defense, the better player. As a Reds fan, though I appreciate Naquin’s contributions, I want the better player to play more.

      • IndyDoug

        Actually Winker is the Reds best hitter per his numbers.

  4. MFG

    Antone in the bullpen for now and when Lorenzen returns flip Antone and Lorenzen.
    Perez is horrible and just cannot throw strikes and the same goes for Bedrosian.
    Release them both when the time comes. Drives me crazy when a relief pitcher comes in and cannot throw strikes. Hitters are way too good to constantly be behind in the count.

  5. GreatRedLegsFan

    Actually, it’s a very difficult task to staff and manage a reliable and effective bullpen. Only very qualified individuals can succeed in such endeavors.

  6. MBS

    I like Doolittle still. He traditionally is good with inherited runners, so hopefully the normalizes. Perez has all the talent, but I’m starting to question his ability to use that talent. I’d try to use him in low pressure action for a while see if he can regain his focus, if not he has options.

    If De Leon can succeed as a long man in the pen, that will take a lot of pressure off the rest of the pen. Between Antone and De Leon they could eat up 8 – 10 innings a week. If they both pitch 2 times and go 2 to 3 innings per appearance.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m a little nervous about Doolittle. His pitches don’t seem like they have a lot of movement on them just from watching him pitch in games so far.

      I feel like DeLeon is going to be pretty decent out of the bullpen which is good cause like the article mentions there are 4 guys not doing so well down there.

  7. MBS

    I see the Reds Alternate team lost 6 – 2 to the mud hens. But can’t find any box scores, do you know if they are publishing them?

    • Doug Gray

      They are not being published anywhere.

  8. Indy Red Man

    I didn’t realize Fulmer had pitched that well. Start running him out there in mid innings when it matters. Not sure about DeLeon or Hoffman out of the pen? Where is Nick Lodolo? He atleast throws strikes and tall lefties don’t grow on trees. He’s got to be better then Perez at this point. We just need the starters to get a little deeper into the game. Mahle can’t be at 90 pitches after 5 every time.

  9. David

    The advantage of Perez is that he is a left hander. Other than that, despite his “throwing” talent, his “pitching” talent seems a bit questionable. I don’t think you can cook up advanced metrics to find a way to defend him so far. But yet, it IS early. He may round into shape yet. And…is Brandon Finnegan still an alternative if he shapes up in the minors? the Reds still have him in the minors? I am unsure WHERE he is now.
    Bedrosian should be gone. Plenty of semi-decent right handed relievers could step in and do better.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yeah I’m sure 9th year is the charm for Finnegan. Falling off a dock and missing time he can pull off. Pitching in the bigs? No

  10. Sliotar

    Romano is very much in the “questionable” camp, IMO … the ruling on the fly ball doesn’t change these 2 stats so far in 2021 …

    K/9 – 4.22
    HR/9 – 2.53

    Small sample sizes were used in article, so they should apply here … his game log is nothing to write home about.

    Pitching half the games in GABP … his tosses are a gas can waiting to run into a fire.

    Alternate site must really be devoid of relief pitching to keep Romano up.

  11. Ghostrunner_onthird

    I’m quite sure that my course-of-action will garner a significant measure of negative replies; but, if this was my team Lodolo and Greene would either be starting or in the bullpen time now plus Vladimir Gutiérrez as soon as he’s eligible.

    I get it that talent management has to be managed judiciously but a need is a need and the solution set is already on the payroll.

  12. Roger Garrett

    If Deleon goes to the pen when Sonny is activated we get better.If he was good enough to start then he has value as a guy that can go multiple innings along with Antone for now it appears.Bull pens are hard to manage because you never know who or who doesn’t have it on a particular day.It gets worse if guys can only give you one inning at best so maybe we can see another inning when they do have it.I hope we see more from Sims and especially from Garrett going forward since I feel on most nights the pen will have to cover 3 or more innings.It appears they are the 8th and 9th inning guys tied or with the lead and that could be why we haven’t seen much of them but I am just guessing.

  13. Indy Red Man

    Wasn’t it early in 2019 that Bell put Lorenzen into a game in Pittsburgh in the 3rd inning and it worked. I thought to myself that this guy gets it! He doesn’t just think & do what everyone else does like a sheep. That was a anomaly though. Now its business as usual. Put Garrett into the game in the 5th if you have a tough lefty and the game might turn. Mix and match. Its already been mentioned by Roger and others, but you have to get innings out of Garrett and Sims and waiting for the standard situations doesn’t always work.

    Side note. Probably a knee-jerk reaction, but I’d really look into dealing for Luke Weaver at some point. No way can the Snakes hang with LA or SD and highly unlikely they hang around for the last wildcard either. If he’s somewhere around 3.75 in early June as I suspect then he could be dealt for prospects.

    • Matt WI

      I don’t know if it was the 3rd inning, but it was no later than like the 5th… but I think I remember the game you’re talking about. And yes, it was a very out of the box thing that we almost saw nothing of again.

  14. Don

    baseball reference has a wins above average by position statistic
    Reds – MLB ranking
    Team Overall – 11th
    All pitching – tied 20th
    Starters – Tied 13th (+0.3)
    Relievers – Tied 20th (-0.6)
    Catcher – 4th (+0.5)
    1B – 30th (-0.7)
    2B – 13th (+0.1)
    3B – 4th (+0.4)
    SS – 29th (-0.5)
    LF – 1st (+0.6)
    CF – tied 13th (+0.1)
    RF – 5th (+0.3)
    PH – Tied 1st (+0.1)

    Starting pitching is middle of MLB back.
    Relief pitching – bad, but 10 teams are worse

    1B, Relief Pitching and SS are the spots which have the lowest WAR so that is where improvement is needed for the 2021 Reds to improve

    • Doug Gray

      WAR through two weeks is entirely useless.

      • MBS

        Exactly, like I always say. WAR, what is it good for, absolutely nothing.

      • Doug Gray

        But you’re wrong. WAR has some value. But just not in a span of two weeks.

      • Doug Gray

        I am. But people tend to bring it up with reference to the statistic WAR when they believe the statistic WAR is useless. Like actual war.

        The statistic WAR is actually useful.

      • MBS

        Mine reference was just a joke, a perfect spot to use a lyric, and not a commentary on any usefulness of a stat. I’m a stat cast fan, the more information the better.

  15. Roger Garrett

    I know nothing about WAR and took a look at the calculation so now I know even less then nothing.What I do know is we need Joey and Eugenio to be better then they have been so far.Both show signs of doing that but honestly I have more faith right now in Joey.Eugenio obviously is struggling at his new position and it has to effect his hitting.Yes I know he is a pro and he gets paid big bucks to be a pro but he is human after all.I think he will improve on defense but it may take awhile for him to not let it effect his hitting.

    • Still a Red

      I know this is supposed to be about BP, but have to comment on Suarez. As long as he’s trying for 50 HRs, he’s lost. Can almost count on him swinging half-heartedly through a breaking ball with same swing he goes for the HR with…with two strikes he has to go with the pitch…he used to…he rarely does now.