Lefty reliever needed? Maybe not

As I drove to and fro on Tuesday night, I had the rare opportunity to listen to the Reds Hot Stove show on WLW while in the car. One of the audience questions for Marty and Thom was whether the Reds needed to add a lefty reliever since Sean Marshall is the only one currently in the bullpen. As you know, the club is hoping LHP Aroldis Chapman can transition to the rotation.

GM Walt Jocketty also told reporters after the Jack Hannahan signing last week he might look for a lefty reliever.

During the radio show, special guest and Reds reliever Sam LeCure brought up a good point. Even with only Marshall, the bullpen has plenty of guys, right-handed guys, that did a good job of getting lefties out. In fact after a quick look at the stats, I found that all the right-handers did better against lefties than righties last season.

Here are some opposing batting averages for Reds relievers:

Arredondo: .277 vs. RH, .165 vs LH

LeCure: .232 vs. RH, .208 vs. LH

Hoover: .196 vs. RH, .120 vs. LH

Ondrusek: .285 vs. RH, .190 vs. LH

Simon: .283 vs. RH, .267 vs. LH

Masset (2011): .267 vs. RH, .284 vs. LH

There isn’t a wealth of left-handed relievers on the free agent market. According to MLBTraderumors.com, this is the complete list:

Pedro Feliciano
Mike Gonzalez
Tom Gorzelanny
J.P. Howell
Rich Hill
Will Ohman
Manny Parra
Rafael Perez
J.C. Romero
Daniel Schlereth **
Hisanori Takahashi

If a lefty (aka LOOGY) can be had for cheap or even on a Minor League deal, cool. But matchups vs. lefty hitters aren’t an area the Reds have to feel shorthanded heading into next season.

**Update: The Orioles announced about an hour after this posting that they signed Schlereth to a Minor League contract.

7 Comments

I wonder if the shifts employed against LH hitters has driven down batting averages for LH hitters. I think I read that only 2 LH hitters were in the Top 10 in Batting averages in the MLB (Joe Mauer and Prince Fielder).

Well lets just say Joey Votto… He was not included because of AB… So I think like most stats these are misleading.

I think with the bullpen we have available; three of them more than capable of taking care of the LH batters, (ie: BA), I don’t think that we need to necessarily expend money or talent for a LH reliever. Of course, I am probably preaching to the choir as Jocketty makes few mistakes when it come to buying or trading horse flesh. I think we look great, as is.

Completely agree, but my fear as is with Rolen is Dusty Baker. He loves the lefty righty matchup. Why I dont know. But he will again hold out Marshall for this, which will then limit Marshall from coming in the 8th and shutting people down. I really hope that Dusty moves on from this…

I’d rather have 7 good relievers with just one LH … then to have a below average LH reliever just to have a second one. If it becomes too much of a problem … they could use Cingrani in the bullpen or trade for a LH down the road. If they are able to get another LH reliever now great, but if not I’d be fine with what we have.

I wouldn’t mind a Mike Gonzalez signing though

the pitching looks fine but what protection do we have if hannigan is injured or messeracho is ineffective?

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