4.) Bullpen in Disarray
Now, we’ll talk about that disastrous trade deadline move that seemed like a good idea at the time. Firstly, Ryan Buchter has been a solid addition. Let’s get that over with, but Brandon Maurer and Trevor Cahill were massive disappointments.
Cahill was counted on to be the fifth starter. That didn’t go well. Then he was counted on to be a long reliever out of the bullpen—a role some fans thought he was better suited for anyway. But that didn’t go well either.
Maurer, meanwhile, had appeared to be a backend of the bullpen savior. Kelvin Herrera and Soria had been highly ineffective as the closer and eighth-inning guy, respectively. Maurer seemed like the answer to at least one of those problems.
However, he never truly impressed. Maurer only got put into high-leverage situations for two reasons. Firstly, Soria got injured. Secondly, Herrera got demoted from the closer role. Maurer did nothing to change initial impressions with poor performances throughout the months of August and September.
To be fair, Maurer was far from the only problem with the bullpen. Soria and Herrera struggled to hold leads. Mike Minor excelled most of the season, as did Scott Alexander. But the two lefties also gave up a few crucial leads, too. The rest of the bullpen seemed to be engaged in a season-long game of musical chairs. A game with no winners.
Couple that with a manager who struggles at, well, managing even good bullpens, and you have a dumpster fire on your hands.