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2014 in Review: Bullpenners

The Proclaimers, clearly, were facing the Reds' back end of the relievers.

Parra is SUCH the kind of guy who would give a straight handshake to another baseball player.
Parra is SUCH the kind of guy who would give a straight handshake to another baseball player.
Al Bello

If you've got nothing nice to say, don't say it at all.

BK just sighed exasperatedly at me, so let's talk about the Reds' non-Chapman bullpen. It was rough. Broxton did well enough in his 48.1 innings to get someone else to pay for his next 50 innings, which is abut the best news available for the team and for him after he put up a low 6.8K/9 for the Reds. Besides him, the lowest BB/9 on the team was Logan Ondrusek (3.5) which, despite striking out more people than ever before he was still plagued by too many hits off of a sinker that got him through 2010-11 and has been wobbly ever since.

Sam LeCure just looked old. He's only 30, but while he always seemed to be laboring and grunting out 2-seamers that nobody could do anything with, batters could do something with them this year. He had the lowest strikeout and highest walk rates since his move to the bullpen and always just looked...tired. He's such a lovely guy, it was rough to watch. And even then, he was just a bit mediocre, which puts him far above his projected 7th-inning mate JJ Hoover, who seemed to walk everyone he didn't offer a home run up to and generally paid homage to his former roomate and friend Drew Stubbs by losing as many games for the Reds as possible.

Say what you want about LeCure and Hoover, but I can at least recollect them. I couldn't tell you about any of Manny Parra's 53 appearances, but BBRef tells me that he gave up too many hits and walks in them off of a slider that was seemingly tipped.

Oh, and props to Trevor Bell, who somehow made Skip Schumaker not-the-final-guy on the BBRef list by giving up five runs in two thirds of an inning, over two appearances.

On the other hand, Jumbo Diaz was a lot of fun to watch debut. Again, too many walks -- and his early appearances were rough -- but his 99-mph fastball and great slider/sinker combo kept things fun in September. He's no 8th-inning guy, but he seems to be a cheap and reliable bullpen part to take over in the middle innings. I was rooting for him hard out of Spring Training and it was exciting to see Jumbito make it to the leagues and to Instagram, so I'm curious to see his second act.

And it's worth mentioning that it was at least fun to see Contreras, Corcino, and Holmberg come up and do some fun things. Carlos Contreras got tired by the end of the year and started walking just a silly amount of people, but he has a live arm. Corcino may not be Cuetinho, but his slider had bite and he could be something.

The bullpen was very bad this year, but hey, considering that they're all rolls of the dice anyways may as well have come up snake eyes in the year Votto misses 100 games and Bruce misses his baseball-hitting soul. Things will be re-jiggered in front of Chapman next year without Broxton and without Sean Marshall for a bit...I'm genuinely curious to hear if you trust an 8th inning of LeCure/Jumbo/Parra or would rather bring in some older guys.

The team needs another lefty until Parra proves reliable and that 2013 wasn't a blip. The team needs a lockdown 8th inning righty that LeCure and Hoover can be, but certainly may not be. All these guys are getting old and expensive and I'm not sure if Corcino/Contreras/Guillon/Villareal are ready to step in or forever 8th-men, and I'm not sure if 2014 did anything to convince me one way or the other. But games had a tendency to be rough to watch after the 6th inning this past year, and it's a problem that needs solving if 2015 is going to be any different.