Cincinnati Reds: Three free agent relievers the team should pursue

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 9: Closing pitcher Andrew Miller #24 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on April 9, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers 2-0. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 9: Closing pitcher Andrew Miller #24 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on April 9, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers 2-0. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 2: Starter Tyler Clippard #36 of the Toronto Blue Jays reactsa after giving up a two-run home run to Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners that also scored Dee Gordon #9 of the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of a game at Safeco Field on August 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

With starting pitching being the biggest flaw on the Cincinnati Reds team, little attention has been paid to what improvements could be made in the bullpen.

So much attention has been paid to which starting pitchers the Cincinnati Reds should pursue this offseason, that we’ve neglected to look at what relief pitchers could help the team in 2019. While starting pitching is important, in today’s game having a solid bullpen may be more important than ever.

It used to be that a team could trot out their starter for 5-7 innings and hand the game over to the bullpen for the final few outs. Now we’re seeing relievers come into the game in third, fourth, and fifth inning by design. Heck, the Milwaukee Brewers started Wade Miley in the NLCS and he only pitched to one batter.

Times have changed and “bullpenning” is a real thing. With the Reds appearing to turn the corner as an organization and focus more on analytics, could we see a shift in philosophy? Derek Johnson, the new Reds pitching coach, was in that same dugout that trotted Miley out to the mound to face just one batter.

While starting pitching is still important, there’s no way the Reds can minimize the importance of a good bullpen. They’ve already shown their willingness to invest in relievers with the extension of Raisel Iglesias just last week. Iglesias signed a 3 year/ $24.1 MM contract extension just before Thanksgiving.

The Cincinnati Reds have a solid bullpen, especially on the back end. Jared Hughes, David Hernández, Raisel Iglesias, and Michael Lorenzen are locks to be part of the Reds pen in 2019. Although, there is a possibility that Lorenzen could find himself as part of the starting rotation.

The Reds bullpen may have been their biggest team asset last season. While the team’s hitting was no slouch, the relievers more than held up their end of the bargain in 2018 and will be heavily relied upon again in 2019. Players like Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson, and Cody Reed may find a home in the bullpen next season, but the Reds should still be in the market for an upgrade as well.

Jesse Chavez was just signed the Texas Rangers, so the market is beginning to heat up. With that, who’s available in free agency that could help the Reds out of the bullpen. There are several options, but we’re going to take a look at three options that could really help the Reds next season.