Okay, don't have time for a complete analysis, nor do I think anyone would want to read it, but in a nutshell, since 1969 the REDS have had a never-ending supply of solid relief pitchers to replace those that either become ineffective, get traded, or move to the starting rotation.
Sometimes they're picked up as Free-agents (Shaw; Brantley; Weathers), most often though in trades (Franco for Landestoy; Myers for Franco; Carroll for Pappas; Power for Ramsey; Granger and (Tolan) for Pinson; Borbon for McGlothlin; Graves for Smiley; Charlton for Krenchicki; Hall for Granger; Carrasco (who was a PTBNL) for Hammond; Belisle for Mercker) and often they come up through the system (Hume; Eastwick; Dibble; Sullivan; Murphy; McEnaney; Robinson; Price; Williamson).
It's always dynamic, where the most consistency lasts two years, maybe three, and the closer, maybe 3 or 4 at the most.
The REDS have always been one of the top relief groups in the league during this time...until 2004.
The replacements were always young and usually threw the ball extremely hard, except for maybe the closer, but the key is that they were young and nearly always hadn't closed before until they became REDS.
In 1999 they were 1st in the league.
In 2000, 3rd,
In 2001, 1st, (though we lost 96 games)
In 2002, 6th,
In 2003, 7th,
In 2004, 15th,
In 2005, 13th,
In 2006, 10th,
In 2007, 16th.
In 2002, we still had a fairly effective Graves, Sully, Williams, and White, though as a whole they would struggle compared to what they did the three years before.
In 2003, we now had Williamson, Riedling, Heredia, and Reitsma, but then it got ugly. Jim Bowden left and a new General Manager came in.
In 2004, our new G.M. thought that Graves could go back to saving games after experiencing an attempt at starting, with Riedling, Norton, and Jones to set him up???? But, what was he to do? Cheapskate Carl Lindner wouldn't let him purchase anything. He couldn't trade a good player for a good closer because Lindner wouldn't let him replace that player through free-agency. You could also make a claim that the Griffey contract handcuffed him from doing anything. Bowden had Graves and Sullivan and Williamson before Lindner took over in '99.
In 2005, the Milton signing kept us from getting a quality closer and we went to the bottom half of the free-agent market and picked up Weathers. He's been good enough to be a 6th or 7th inning pitcher, but not a closer (except for this year).
In 2006, there was a new G.M. and a new owner. "The Trade" was supposed to net us two quality relievers that we could count on and get things back to normal, where Bray or Majewski would have been a closer". Krivsky got screwed by Bowden. Then, Krivsky took a chance on an ineffective and injury-plagued Guardado for practically nothing. Guardado plugged the hole.....for 15 games...before being shutdown Aug 20th, and eventually having Tommy John surgery. So, they were left with Weathers, Coffey, Mercker, and Belisle for the 2nd year in a row with likewise results.....horrible.
In 2007, nobody's healthy (Majewski, Bray, Burton), so that leaves us with Weathers and Coffey again. Mercker and Belisle are replaced by Stanton and Santos. So, that's why Krivsky is trying hard to find replacements until he finds a couple of guys that will pitch well. He found one in Saarloos, but he's not a closer or setup man. He hoped to find a couple out of Stanton, Santos, Coutlangus, Mcbeth, and it may turn out that Salmon from the REDS' organization or Tyler Pelland who was just converted to reliever after 28 starts and a 3.99 ERA at Chattanooga last year. FWIW, Pelland struck out 6 in two innings of relief on Monday.
What I see is that Krivsky has been addressing this problem for a year now, and it has been extremely difficult. I can see he's determined to have a good bullpen.
Hume's been the bullpen coach since 1996, except for the interim time last year when Vern Ruhle was being treated for cancer. So, Hume was the bullpen coach when they were the best in the league and now at the bottom of the league. It's not him.
I do think it will be fixed, and fixed before June comes to an end.
Be patient, hope that we can be 40-40, and then let's make a run for the playoffs.