Jose “Jumbo” Diaz Can Fix Cincinnati Reds’ Big Bullpen Problem
Watching the circus act of Logan Ondrusek, Manny Parra, J.J. Hoover, and even the usually reliable Sam LeCure repeatedly botch relief appearances, the Cincinnati Reds‘ brass must be seriously thinking about promoting one Jose “Jumbo” Diaz to the big league club.
Diaz is known as Jumbo for a reason — he may not dwarf the Reds’ massive eighth-inning specialist Jonathan Broxton, but his weight listing of 315 pounds may be more than just a shade on the light side. After years of toiling fruitlessly in the minors, the lights have come on for big Jumbo over the past two years. Now at 30 years old, the time may have come for Diaz to finally get his chance to join a major league team.
For the past two years, Diaz has served as the primary closer for the Reds’ triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats. In 2013, he posted 13 saves with a 1.66 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 54-plus innings of works. This year, Diaz is showing that sudden emergence as closer material isn’t a fluke.
Diaz has 17 saves so far this year. In 32-plus innings, he’s struck out 30 and notched a 1.38 ERA. Diaz may not be the long-term answer for the Reds’ bullpen, but he can’t be much worse than the relievers the Reds have thrown out in the sixth and seventh innings this year.
LeCure has bottomed out over his past five appearances, watching his ERA rocket from 1.14 to 3.58 after surrendering eight earned runs. LeCure has been a stalwart in the Reds’ bullpen for the past three years and will likely rediscover his tenacity. But Ondrusek (4.26 ERA, 1.70 WHIP), Parra (4.57 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) and Hoover (5.40 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) all continue to pose problems big enough for the Reds that the only answer they have right now may be a jumbo one, as in Jumbo Diaz.