Who can the Reds turn to in order to improve the team’s Achilles heel?
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen nearly gave another game away on Friday night versus the Chicago Cubs. David Bell has to be running out of patience, as his team was able to avert disaster, but forced the Reds skipper to burn two of his best pitchers in a game that should have been over long belong the Cubbies rallied and had the go-ahead run sitting at first base with two outs in the ninth inning.
Leading 8-2 heading into the seventh inning, José De León allowed an RBI double and an RBI single, which cut the Reds lead from six runs to four. The final inning added some drama, and Bell had to call upon Tejay Antone in order to preserve the victory. Cincinnati emerged with an 8-6 win over their division rivals.
This cannot continue. We all know about the lack of spending in the offseason, but it’s reached a point where the front office needs to bring in some fresh arms from the alternate site. Who can Nick Krall call upon with the bullpen emerging as the team’s most glaring weakness?
1. Art Warren, Reds right-handed pitcher
Art Warren has been along for the ride a few times already this season. The Cincinnati Reds taxi squad has seen Warren join the club on the road during trips to San Francisco, Arizona, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. It’s time to have Warren join the club on a more permanent basis.
Warren has major league experience, and the 28-year-old is already part of Cincinnati’s 40-man roster. Optioning José De León to the alternate site and allowing the former top prospect in the Tampa Bay organization to start his minor league season at Triple-A Louisville should be a no-brainer. This would enable De León to be a starter for the Bats, and the Reds to gain a fresh arm.
Warren’s professional career has been defined by nagging injuries, but the right-hander has a fastball that sits in the upper-90s. Warren’s command has oftentimes been questioned, but if he can refine his slider, the former Mariners’ prospect can at least provide some relief for this beleaguered Reds bullpen.