Hoo-boy. Am I really supposed to talk about the bullpen? I guess I am. Um. It’s ugly. Or not. It depends. Yeah, yeah. It depends. I don’t know, let’s go ahead and do this…
2013: 470.1 IP, 9.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 3.29 ERA
2013 WAR: 2.0 (FanGraphs), 5.5 (BBRef)
2013 RA-9: 5.6
2014 Best Guesses: 2.0, 5.0, 5.0
If your asking me, these are my guesses: Broxton is mostly fine and pitches a fair bit. Chapman is back in early June. Marshall pitches pretty much not at all. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible, either. Certainly, you’d like to get more out of your top relievers, but it could be much worse given what we’ve seen lately.
One of the things about the bullpen is that it figures to pitch a lot of innings. Given the 470 IP last season, the 5.5 bWAR is pretty much average. The fWAR for the Reds puts them in the bottom tier, while the RA-9 puts them a bit above average. Overall, it was a solid bullpen last year, aided greatly by Aroldis Chapman.
While the Reds will greatly miss Chapman for a few months, the big hope of all Reds fans this year is that the bullpen management will be something approaching sane. I was never as big a Dusty detractor as some, but his handling of the bullpen was almost as bad as it gets.
In the end, I have no idea what will happen with the pen, and neither do you. This is exactly why it is a mistake to spend a bunch of money on relief pitchers. They are, frankly, a plentiful commodity and tend to burn out quickly. Sure, there are some Mariano Riveras out there, but you aren’t going to win very often, betting on that to happen. The bullpen will probably be fine, but that is a lot of money to end up at fine.