There are a plethora of reasons for the failed 2011 Cincinnati Reds Campaign. We could sit around and talk about who is in left field, Edgar Renteria or the Opening Day Starter who was more serviceable in Louisville than he was in Cincinnati, but I think we’d be missing the boat.
The Reds pitching staff, as a whole, finished 12 out of 16 NL teams. We know that Reds starters finished 50-54 with an ERA above 4. We also know that the Reds bullpen chalked up 28 losses, finished 10th in innings pitched, and finished 3rd in walks.
Why did 2011 go the way of the Titantic? Because there weren’t enough solid arms to avoid the iceberg.
That’s why you have to be giddy about what’s currently being assembled. Mat Latos. Sean Marshall. Andrew Brackman. Now, the newest Reds’ closer, Ryan Madson.
The only thing you need to know about Ryan Madson is that he’s really good, and he’s really expensive because he’s really good. For $8.5 million, the Reds have secured a year’s worth of Madson’s career 3.60 ERA, 52 saves, 547 strikeouts and 1.29 WHIP. Maybe those numbers don’t blow you away. But this kid hasn’t had an ERA of over 3.05 since 2006. Hasn’t had an ERA over 2.55 since 2009. If the Reds are making this the year they make a concerted charge at that closing window, they just accelerated the charge by signing one of baseball’s deadliest relief men. I don’t invest a lot in the closer role myself, but now that the money is spent and he’s here, it’s hard to not be thoroughly impressed at the new toys Dusty Baker has to play with.
When it’s time to yank the starter, here’s the core arsenal Dusty Baker will have to deploy:
I thought that the Reds made a major improvement to their ‘pen by signing Marshall alone. After signing Ryan Madson, it’s hard not to consider this bullpen one of the best in baseball. And for a team that finished 7th in runs scored in 2011, 2012 is looking good.
At this point, you have to think that there are maybe two acquisitions left for the Reds. An alternative LF bat, and serviceable middle infielder who can play short. Then, the only thing left is for pitchers and catchers to report in February.