The record may not have shown it, but last year's Reds club was not awful. It just had the worst bullpen in baseball. Fransico Cordero may not be JJ Putz, and I'm no fan of throwing money at closers, but when you are this bad in the pen, something must be done. Check out this piece by Jason Stark and note the stats:
• This is a team that led more games at the end of the fifth inning last year (75) than the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks (among others). You could look it up.
• This is a team that got outscored by 71 runs after the seventh inning last season and by 92 runs after the sixth.
• This is a team that lost eight games it led after seven innings and went a ridiculous 7-17 when it was tied after seven.
• And this is a team that was last in the National League in bullpen ERA (5.13) -- and allowed the highest opponent batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.360) and OPS (.807) of any bullpen in the league.
Sometimes, you just gotta roll the dice. The Cubs won the NL Central with what, 85 wins? The Reds were just a bullpen arm or two from contention. Maybe now they have have it.