Reds Lock Up Their Anchor
The last two seasons there have been talks of trading the Reds star closer Raisel Iglesias. The trade talks happened while the Reds were trying to rebuild. Those talks have been put to rest, with the Reds inking Iglesias to a three year $24.1 million contract on Wednesday.
The Reds have made it known that they plan to spend this winter. Signing Iglesias may not seem like a big move because he was already part of the organization, but it indicates that the team is ready to play.
Relief pitchers are never a team’s focus in a rebuild. They are usually the last piece of the puzzle to complete a roster. Iglesias is one of the premier closers in the league, despite the lack of recognition he receives. Iglesias is the first step in building a roster to make a run for October.
If you do not include Iglesias rookie season, his lowest earned run average was in his second season in 2016. That “worst ERA” was a mere 2.53. He was also a starter for the most part in his rookie season. Since being moved to the closer role, he is hands down one of the top relief pitchers.
He has pitched at least 70 innings in the last three years out of the bullpen and has eclipsed 80 strikeouts in each season. By signing Iglesias, the Reds no longer have to worry about an anchor to shut down opponents in the ninth. Nick Krall and Dick Williams still have work to do, but locking down their lockdown closer is the first step and an encouraging step.
The Next Move
Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel are the two targets to follow after Iglesias. The Yankees have expressed interest in Corbin, who grew up as a Yankees fan, which will make it hard for Cincinnati to match whatever the top free agent pitcher demands.
Keuchel has been predicted to stay in Houston, another team that has a few more dollars to spend and an easier pitch to sell with their established roster. The Reds have a legitimate major league lineup, they have prospects on the way, but it is always easier to showcase a team of young stars than a team of stars that are over 27 and prospects that have yet to play in the majors.
The Reds best chance at landing a top tier pitcher is to sign another player soon. It does not have to be a player of Bryce Harper’s or Manny Machado’s talent, who they will obviously not land, but making moves early will show other players that they are not going to sit around.
One of the Red’s biggest challenges will be convincing ring hungry players to come to the Queen City. The Reds are in the wrong Central Division. If they were in the AL Central they could easily convince a pitcher that they will play October baseball. With the Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals and even the Pirates who surprise at times, the path to a ring becomes much more difficult.
The Time is Now
The Reds are on their way, 2019 may not be the year, but they are taking steps. If Cincinnati fails to make any noise at the start of the season, Iglesias and his fairly cheap contract may once again be on the market. But like previously stated, a new contract for Iglesias is the first step in the Reds trying to compete this upcoming season.