Dusty Baker finally makes it official: Sean Marshall is the Reds’ closer

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For whatever reason manager Dusty Baker was hesitant to name Sean Marshall the Reds’ new closer after Ryan Madson went down, saying: “You just don’t throw somebody in that role.”

Marshall made it very clear that he wanted the job and his excellent performance during the past two seasons made it equally clear that he deserves the opportunity, and yesterday Baker finally relented.

Marshall, who’s been one of the elite setup men in baseball, will take over ninth-inning duties and Aroldis Chapman will be a setup man after plans for his potential move to the rotation were scrapped yesterday.

By this time next year there’s a good chance Marshall will be referred to as a “proven closer.”

Braves are targeting Dallas Keuchel

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LAS VEGAS — Let’s start our first weekday of the Winter Meetings with some rumors and speculation. We’ll have a good bit of that until, you know, something actually happens.

First up: Dallas Keuchel, the top free agent pitcher remaining on the market. Jon Heyman says the Braves, who are in the market for a starter, are targeting him. In this they are not alone, as the Phillies, who missed out on Patrick Corbin, and the Reds, who would like a pitcher who doesn’t allow a lot of fly balls are each reported to be focused on Keuchel as well. There was a random report that the Blue Jays were interested in him too, but that seems off to me given where they are on their rebuild.

Keuchel, who will turn 31 on New Year’s Day, was 12-11 in 34 starts last year, posting an ERA of 3.74 in 204.2 innings. His peripherals have declined fairly consistently since his Cy Young season in 2015, so the question is whether the team that signs him is paying for his past or for what he might reasonably be expected to provide in the future.