Mar 26, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Bill Bray (45) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the sixth inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

2012 Reds Roster Ramble: The 'Pen

The one portion of the Reds roster that has taken the biggest hit has unquestionably been the bullpen. Maybe the only spot, knock on wood. Ryan Madson: Tommy John surgery, out for the season. Nick Masset: shoulder, will begin the season on the disabled list. That made this one slightly more difficult as to who would close and who would, temporarily, take Masset’s place on the Opening Day roster.

You have, for the moment, five healthy bodies.

The Locks

Sean Marshall

Marshall is most likely to be the team’s primary closer despite the fact Reds manager Dusty Baker has concerns over working Marshall three or more days in a row. The infamous “closer by committee” has reared its head. In making Marshall as your closer, you do remove him from the role in which he was brought in to perform.

Bill Bray

Concerns over a nagging groin injury had the Reds fan base worries as Bray has been a valuable member of the ‘pen for the past two seasons. Bray can get you one batter or go a full inning depending on the situation.

And those high socks…

Logan Ondrusek

Played a little Jekyll and Hyde with us last season. Before hitting the DL, Ondrusek was one of baseball’s top relievers. After that time, he was hittable and lost his effectiveness. If you can point to one reliever that has performed well this spring, it is Logan. (Yes, Marshall has been pretty good as of late, too.)

Jose Arredondo

2011 was the “year after Tommy John” and Arredondo was solid, but not spectacular. Being removed from the “year”, we may yet see the best he can offer. That should provide for some optimism for his 2012 season. If it’s anything like his performance in 2008 campaign when he was an Angel, we could witness something special.

Sam LeCure

LeCure’s versatility provides how extremely important he is to the Reds. Unlike last spring, LeCure has struggled this spring. He knows his role with the club and that is comforting. Glad the ‘stache is back.

Nick Masset

Once he returns from the DL, he’s got a spot. Masset could be the guy that picks up save opportunities if Marshall is unable to go…if he’s able to do so. At one time, he was touted as “the next Reds closer”. There’s a reason for that. When Masset has his control, he is completely unhittable. Plus, as John Fay tweeted, Masset’s curve was devastating last season.

The Questions

Aroldis Chapman

I only list Chapman here because there is still some thought he could be the in the ‘pen considering there are not as many bodies as there are spots available. I hope to never see Chapman enter a game from via the ‘pen unless it’s to take the mound in the first inning.

Homer Bailey

Funny how things may end up working out for Homer. Yesterday I stated that some have grown weary of the inconsistency. A move to the ‘pen will undoubtedly bring about the claims/comments that he takes too long to get loose so he can’t be effective out of the bullpen.

He may have to find a way to correct that measure in order to procure a roster spot. In year’s past, there has been limited chatter about having Bailey be the closer. Again, “corrective measures” would need to be taken.

The Great Unknown

With the recent work out of Mike Gonzalez, he could be deemed a viable piece. There aren’t many other options, as far a free agents go, that are available regardless if you are looking for a righty or lefty.

And staying within the organization isn’t a spectacular option either. As I noted yesterday, Jordan Smith is DL bound and Josh Judy cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Louisville. The only other player on the 40-man that has MLB experience as a pitcher is Andrew Brackman, and that is all of three games and 2.1 innings.

There’s is no easy fix considering the health of the guys that are currently on the 40-man and own previous MLB experience. Those that do not, are not deemed as ready…and that leaves the thoughts of making yet another trade. Considering the Reds dealt away some of their top prospects this past winter, pursuing that route may be out of the question.

There are fewer pieces, but are the Reds that desperate? We’ll see as Opening Day is a mere handful of days away…


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Tags: 2012 Reds Roster Aroldis Chapman Baseball Bill Bray Cincinnati Reds Jose Arredondo Logan Ondrusek MLB Nick Masset Pitching Reds Bullpen Sam LeCure Sean Marshall

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