With the up and down track record of Raisel Iglesias as the Cincinnati Reds closer, fans have to ask what the future hold for him in 2020?
Let me start off by saying that I truly believe that Rasiel Iglesias is a very talented pitcher and could be the most talented on this entire Cincinnati Reds team under the right circumstances. That being said, it’s time for the Reds to find a new role for him or find a way to use him to build this team into a more successful franchise.
Over the past two years, fans have been witness to the ups and downs of the loneliest position within the Reds organization. Perhaps Reds Country has become spoiled from the many years of Aroldis Chapman throwing fireballs at batters, leaving them shaking their heads.
Perhaps it is because the Reds have a starting pitcher filling the role of a shut down closer and Iglesias is just not built that way, thus setting him up for failure. Either way, something has to give at the closer position moving forward so the Cincinnati Reds can win the close games that alluded them last season.
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One possible solution is to move Iglesias from the closer spot to the starting rotation where his pitching tools are more suited. Iglesias is what I like to refer to as a “chess player” pitcher, where he likes to work inside and out, up and down, getting the batter to overthink his approach and chase pitches out of the zone. These are tools built for a starting pitcher where they can work a count and have more then an inning to work with.
Over the past few years, multiple teams have gone after Raisel Iglesias for this very reason, with the of using him as a starting pitcher. Perhaps the Reds should consider moving him into this role or trading him to a team that intends to do so, as this would be the best fit for him.
While I’m sure any number of fans will probably shake their head at me right now, considering Iglesias’ annual salary, but perhaps the solution is keep him in the bullpen, but as more of middle reliever than a closer.
Under the same concepts of moving him to starting pitcher, Raisel Iglesias’ tools are more built for the long game and long at-bat than it is for what’s required in the ninth inning of a tight game. By moving Iglesias to this role, perhaps the Reds can take a chance on moving Amir Garrett or Sal Romano to closer’s role, which in my view, are better options.
The Reds could always a change and move on from Iglesias. The right-hander’s name usually pops up in trade rumors and this offseason may be no different. Should the team want to make a change, there are a few viable options on the ball club.
Amir Garrett could easily have been considered one of the most dominant bullpen pitchers, not only in the Reds clubhouse, but throughout Major League Baseball. Garrett is a power pitcher who has no intention in getting into a duel with the batter.
Another option is Sal Romano. If you consider Romano, in 2018 as a starting pitcher, was historically good at the front end and allowed the game to get away from him as he entered the latter part, he could be a solid option. Romano has power capabilities and, in a smaller capacity, he could flourish.
Signing a free agent is a possibility with players such as Will Smith out of San Francisco, or Steve Cishek out of Chicago. While both are very talented individual pitchers, signing a closer could potentially cost a lot of money and Great American Ball Park is not always the friendliest place for pitchers who are unfamiliar.
The closer situation heading into 2020 is a curious one to be sure, however, fans will get a better idea of where the front office is heading as the offseason unfolds. Raisel Iglesias had a career-high in saves last season, but he may not be the answer with a close ball game in the ninth inning.