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Manny Parra gives the Reds another southpaw in the 'pen.
Where to begin?
This battle will be influenced by what happens with Aroldis Chapman. But for now, let's not include Chapman and Mike Leake when talking about the battle for bullpen spots.
Here are the locks for bullpen spots: Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, Sam LeCure and Jose Arredondo. The other spots are up for grabs right now. Manny Parra, Alfredo Simon, Logan Ondrusek and J.J. Hoover are competing for spots as well.
Hoover had an outstanding rookie season last year, but his youth and options will likely send him to the minors.
If Chapman moves to the rotation, Parra likely makes the bullpen because he is a southpaw. He hasn't had an ERA below 5.00 since 2008, but the Reds want another left-hander in the bullpen because Marshall will be the setup man. He helped his case by going two perfect innings, including two strikeouts, on Sunday against the Indians.
Simon is out of options, and he did a good job last year. He ended the year with a 2.66 ERA and was a crucial member of the bullpen. He was usually called upon with the team losing, so he was expected to go multiple innings to save the other arms in the bullpen. He got roughed up on Saturday, allowing five runs in 1.2 innings.
Logan Ondrusek didn't allow a run until the middle of May last year, but his season quickly took a turn for the worst. His 3.46 ERA was the highest of any regular reliever on the team. The right-hander has been a reliable setup man in the past, so he will likely make the team. He allowed a hit in one inning in his spring debut over the weekend.
Hoover struck out two in one inning of work in his first appearance this spring. If Ondrusek struggles with control or Simon continues to get hit, Hoover will be hard to send down.
So here is the projected bullpen as of now (with Chapman in rotation): Broxton, Marshall, LeCure, Arredondo, Ondrusek, Simon and Parra.
However, one prediction is that Chapman won't be in the rotation coming out of spring through. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer has reported multiple times that manager Dusty Baker would prefer to keep Chapman in the bullpen. Leake will probably get a chance to start at the beginning of the season, and Chapman will close out games during that time.
If that's the case, Chapman will take Parra's spot in the bullpen. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reported that Parra will make $1 million this season. The team should be willing to eat that money if Leake has a good spring and the rest of the bullpen does as well.