Cincinnati Reds snag new pitching coach, Derek Johnson, from division foe

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 14: Corey Knebel #46 of the Milwaukee Brewers talks to Pitching Coach Derek Johnson #36 of the Milwaukee Brewers during the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 14, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 14: Corey Knebel #46 of the Milwaukee Brewers talks to Pitching Coach Derek Johnson #36 of the Milwaukee Brewers during the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 14, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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He won’t be bringing Josh Hader with him, but Derek Johnson is leaving the Milwaukee Brewers to join the Cincinnati Reds as their new pitching coach. Signing Johnson will be an underrated move this offseason, but it may prove to be invaluable for the organization.

David Bell has made his first hire as the Cincinnati Reds new manager and it’s a good one. Derek Johnson, pitching coach of the Milwaukee Brewers, will occupy the same role with the Reds next season. While most fans are eager to see which free agents the Reds pursue this offseason, landing Johnson may be a bigger move than any player they sign this winter.

Derek Johnson has a very good track record. He replaced Rick Kranitz as the Brewers pitching coach following the 2015 season. Before that he spent a few seasons in the Chicago Cubs minor league system after 11 seasons as the pitching coach at Vanderbilt University.

During his time with the Commodores, Johnson instructed such pitchers as Jeremy Sowers, David Price, Sonny Gray, Mike Minors, and Casey Weathers. All five are former first-round picks and Price was instrumental in the Boston Red Sox recent World Series title.

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All of Reds Country is abuzz with the potential free agent pitchers that Dick Williams, Nick Krall, and the Reds brass might go after in free agency. However, if you ask me, signing Derek Johnson will be the most underrated move Cincinnati makes this offseason.

The Reds had the second-worst ERA in the National League last season, while the Brewers had the fourth-best. Milwaukee also ranked second in the NL with 91 quality starts, while Cincinnati brought up the rear with only 67. And, while opposing hitters were crushing Reds’ pitching to the tune of a .266 batting average, Milwaukee held opponents to .233.

Everything about this move by the Cincinnati Reds should be applauded. Not only did they acquire a top-notch pitching coach to join rookie manager David Bell, but they plucked him from division-rival Milwaukee who was just one win away from the World Series.

One has to assume that money played a role in Johnson jumping ship from the Brewers to the Reds. Fans in the Queen City should be ecstatic if that’s the case as it shows a clear message from management that the club is willing to spend money, something that many fans in Reds Country have been critical of in the past.

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The Cincinnati Reds are making moves and doing so in a big way. Will more big moves come when free agency opens? We’ll find out soon enough.