Cincinnati Reds’ fourth offseason priority – re-sign Alfredo Simon and Ross Ohlendorf to inexpensive contracts

Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds have of pair of free agent veterans who should be back next year on low cost deals.

The Cincinnati Reds have two free agent pitchers in Ross Ohlendorf and Alfredo Simon, who deserve another shot with the team.  They both had their ups and downs this year.  Being part of a horrendous bullpen for most of the season, means that there were more downs than ups.

Ohlendorf, for his part, was the best pitcher in the worst bullpen the first half of the season.  He led the team in WHIP and had a disproportionate number of his runners score after he left the game.  He lost his spot in the later innings to the dynamic duo of Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen in the second half of the season.

Simon had a different sort of season.  He was signed so late in spring training that he was only able to make one pre-season start.  It was apparent the entire season that Simon’s endurance was lacking.

Simon had the worst season of his career in 2016.  Simon made 11 starts in the first half of the season with an ERA over 9 and a WHIP over 2.  Those are awful numbers for anyone at point in his career.  He had a brief return in August from a mid-season injury, but it was short-lived.

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He has had better years recently.  Simon is a .500 career pitcher with a WHIP under 1.40.  He also had ERAs under 3.50 his in previous three seasons with the Reds.

The Reds should try to sign both pitchers to minor league deals with spring training invites to encourage competition.

There is no reason to sign either of these players to large dollar deals.  They will be in Triple A at worst and likely middle relievers at best.  With the development of Lorenzen as a late inning reliever, neither Ohlendorf nor Simon is likely to be pitching late in close games.

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Having a pair of veterans in the bullpen can do nothing, but help the youngsters on the staff.  Lorenzen will likely be in his first year as a closer.  Tony Cingrani is still relatively new to being a relief pitcher.  With the possible departures of Iglesias and Blake Wood, there could some rather inexperienced pitchers in set-up roles for the Reds.

Next: First the Reds must move on from Brandon Phillips

Next: Then they must move Raisel Iglesias to the highest bidder

Next: With Iglesias gone the Reds must decide about Wood

That’s the great thing about signing Ohlendorf and Simon.  If either one or both of them are good enough to make the team, the Reds have a pair of flexible relievers.  If Cingrani can’t cut it as a set-up man or Jumbo Diaz gets off to another bad start, this pair can step in without being stressed out.  Finally there is hope that the bullpen will hold together.