So much focus was given to the Mat Latos deal that sometimes I got a feeling the Cincinnati Reds deal to acquire Sean Marshall is/was/may forever be overlooked and unappreciated. While I doubt many would argue that obtaining a legitimate ace isn’t the better move, creating a bullpen that can thwart late-inning rallies and shutting down an opponent is also of importance. Not on the same level, I know.
When the transaction was announced, there were those not in favor of the move. “The Reds gave up too much.” was a common refrain. With Reds having already sent four players to San Diego, they shipped three more to Chicago. Seven guys to get two? Granted, the caliber of players sent to the Padres was greater than those sent to the Cubs, but the thought was there.
It wasn’t all peaches and cream in the beginning. In spring training, Ryan Madson hit the table for Tommy John and his season (and days in Cincy) were done. Marshall was to assume the role of closer. When April ended, Marshall had five saves, one blown save, and gaudy numbers in ERA (5.40) and BABIP (.400). Opponents hit .273 off of him that month. He had allowed runs in three of the nine games in which he appeared.
Not what we think of when the tag “closer” is attached. May would prove to be a “downfall” for Marshall, but maybe that was a positive. His first seven games in May saw him permit runs in two of his seven appearances. And another gaudy BABIP of .571! It was his appearance against the Yankees on May 19 that would ultimately prompt the move of Aroldis Chapman to the closer’s role and Marshall would assume the role he held in his previous two seasons in Chicago.
We will always have the debate on moving Chapman to the role of closer, but that move benefited Marshall more than any other pitcher on the Reds staff. The addition of Jonathan Broxton at the trade deadline aided Marshall as well. The ‘pen was now set up and primed for the late innings.
So let’s look at how Marshall’s performance in ’12. We’ll look at three different time spans: as the closer, being “removed” as closer until acquiring Broxton and from the Broxton acquisition until the end of the season.
There is a little info in regards to the “post Brox” numbers: August was rocky while September was rocky while September was as smooth as could be. In fact, Marshall was the Reds best ‘pen arm over the season’s final month.
So, in total after moving out of the closer’s role…
57 G, 46.2 IP, 4-3, 2 SV, 3 BS, 1.74 ERA, .191 BAA, .269 BABIP, 13 BB, 53 SO
And what did the Reds give up? Travis Wood (6-13, 4.27 ERA, 1.199 WHIP in 26 starts), Dave Sappelt (.266/.314/.376, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 15 SB in 550 PA for Triple-A Iowa; .275/.351/.449, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB in 78 PA for Cubs), and Ronald Torreyes (.264/.326/.385, 6 HR, 47 RBI, 13 SB in 474 PA for A+ Daytona). Wood is slotted as the #6 starter while Sappelt is listed as the backup left fielder on the Cubs website. Torreyes is only 20, but he’s not listed as being one the Cubs top prospects.
Not a difficult decision to make here as far as who is ahead on this deal, is there?