Cincinnati Reds say sayonara to reliever Ross Ohlendorf for 2017

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds watched Ross Ohlendorf sign with the Yakult Swallows in Japan for $1.5-million.

The Cincinnati Reds are focusing on improving their bullpen for 2017, but their first move was to watch Ohlendorf sign overseas.  Ohlendorf is one of the most interesting cases of statistics showing the truth in the bullpen.  He has been ridiculed by fans, but wasn’t nearly as bad as his reputation suggests.

Ohlendorf ranked fifth in the bullpen in WHIP in 2016, behind Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias, Jumbo Diaz, and JC Ramirez.  For those of you keeping score, that means over the course of the season Ohlendorf had a better WHIP than Blake Wood and Tony Cingrani.  He also led the bullpen in decisions with a record of 5-7.

In the first half of the season, Ohlendorf really carried the bullpen.  He was third in the bullpen in WHIP and tied starter Brandon Finnegan for the team lead in decisions with 11.  He led he the team with wins at the All-Star break with five.

While the Reds’s fans are saying good-bye to bad rubbish, the front office merely couldn’t justify that much money on a low leverage reliever in their new system.  Ohlendorf grades out as a minor league contract worth $1-million if he made the big league roster.

The Cincinnati Reds are slowly running out of time as they need to add a veteran reliever to stabilize the bullpen.

The Reds have done little to work on the bullpen this season.  The only reliever added to the forty man roster since the end of the season is Barrett Astin from Double-A.  Worse than that they have not invited any minor league free agents to spring training, yet.

The Reds have mentioned that they would like to bring in someone who can pitch multiple innings and has some experience closing.  That description matches Alfredo Simon.  If he’s healthy, the Reds could sign him on a minor league contract with a spring training invite.

These deals usually fall into place after all of the top relievers sign their big league deals.  The Reds, though, need to show a little more urgency.  They were slow on the draw to sign a fifth starting pitcher last off-season.  The team ended up with Simon making too many starts.

Next: 2017 Cincinnati Reds Resolutions

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There are easily fifty pitchers that could meet the Reds’ needs who are still available.  That number will shrink quickly now that the new year has started.  The Reds need to get that one last piece to support Lorenzen on the back end before it’s too late.