Cutting through the bull in the Reds' 'pen

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

With Manny Parra back in the fold for another two years, the Reds' bullpen looks to be set. At least if you make some pretty big assumptions. If everyone is healthy and no one gets dealt, this is how it stacks up:

Aroldis Chapman, Closer
Sean Marshall, Lefty set-up guy
Jonathan Broxton, Righty set-up guy
Sam LeCure, Also basically a set-up guy
JJ Hoover, Super middle reliever
Manny Parra, LOOGy
Alfredo Simon, Long reliever
Logan Ondrusek, Middle reliever

Also in the mix:
Pedro Beato
Curtis Partch
Nick Christiani

Given all the variables here and the expected shoes to fall this offseason, it's probably not going to look like this on opening day. Jonathan Broxton could easily start the season on the DL. Sean Marshall's health isn't rock solid, either. As far as things the Reds actually have control over, these seem like the likeliest scenarios (not mutually exclusive):

There's another signing or trade

Jocketty has been the God of Small Things this offseason, so it wouldn't be at all surprising if he cut another two-year contract with someone. John Axford fits the profile: former Cardinal and known within the division. The Reds even drafted him originally (though he didn't sign).

Aroldis Chapman heads to the rotation

Chapman could make the rotation if a starter gets traded or if one (don't even think it) is injured to start the season. In either case, he'd relinquish the closer role - likely to Jonathan Broxton, if healthy. In this case, everyone would move up one slot in the pecking order. Except that puts two guys who were injured most of last season in charge and both Ondrusek AND Beato in there.

Logan Ondrusek gets traded

This seems somewhat likely, though he probably wouldn't anchor a deal. Logan is out of options next season, while the Reds could conceivably pay Pedro Beato league minimum to approximate his role in the bullpen. With Ondrusek's ability to touch 96-97 and nice K/BB rate in '13, he could be an appealing arm for a number of teams. Putting Ondrusek in the trade delegation makes it a little less likely that the Jocketty has to dip into the prospect pool.

Aroldis Chapman gets traded

I don't think it's terribly likely, but Chapman has to be though of as one of the team's trade chips, behind BP or a starting pitcher. There's also the circular logic of the self-fulfilling closer prophecy: if he's not a starter, then they're not losing starting depth by trading him.

Alfredo Simon gets traded

Simon was quietly one of the best and most durable arms in the bullpen last season, tossing the 6th most innings of anyone on staff (starters included). And he's cheap. So there's little reason to trade him. But he could also be a sell-high candidate as part of a larger deal.

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