Last year at this time Sean Marshall was beginning the season as the Reds’ closer, but that didn’t last long and now he’s third in the bullpen hierarchy behind Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Broxton. If he can get healthy enough to pitch, that is.
Marshall hasn’t been available yet this season because of shoulder fatigue, telling John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the rest is “just precautionary” and he’s “probably a day or two away” from being ready to pitch.
By keeping Chapman as a reliever the Reds’ bullpen depth is certainly strong enough to cope without Marshall for a while, but he’s been one of the best setup men in baseball for the past three seasons with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings and ERAs of 2.65, 2.26, and 2.51.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.