The Reds rumors are flying out of San Diego this week. After missing out on Didi Gregorius, it appears the Cincinnati Reds are interested in Craig Stammen.
For those fans clamoring for Cincinnati to address the bullpen, the latest Reds rumors will make you happy. According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Cincinnati Reds, along with the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks are interested in free agent relief pitcher Craig Stammen.
Stammen went 8-7 last season in 76 appearances out of the bullpen for the San Diego Padres. The 35-year-old has spent the past three years with the Friars, going 18-13 with a 3.06 ERA in 241.1 innings pitched. Stammen played his first seven years in the league with the Washington Nationals.
An Ohio native, perhaps the Cincinnati Reds can sway the right-hander to come back home. Stammen attended the University of Dayton where he pitched for three seasons before being drafted in the 12th round of the 2005 MLB Draft by thee Nats.
Stammen put up fantastic numbers in 2018, but saw a dip in production last year with the Padres. After putting up a 27.8% strikeout-rate in 2018, that number fell to 21.5% in 2019, however, his walk-rate dropped as well, falling from 5.5% in 2018 to 4.5% last year according to FanGraphs.
Stammen is a sinker ball pitcher, something that should play well in Great American Ball Park should he sign with the Reds. Stammen induced a 50.8% ground ball-rate last season, and has a ground ball rate above 50% for his career according to FanGraphs.
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen was solid last season, with players like Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and even Robert Stephenson raising their level of play. Unfortunately, Raisel Iglesias struggled in a new role, and the club moved on from veterans David Hernandez, Jared Hughes, and Zach Duke.
Stammen was especially tough against left-handed hitters last season, holding them to a .203 batting average and .605 OPS. Stammen has also fared well at GABP, striking out 12 batters and not allowing a single home run in seven games.
The latest Reds rumors would indicate the front office’s desire to upgrade the bullpen; something fans assumed the team would look to do heading into 2020. The back end of the bullpen appears set for next year, but adding a player like Craig Stammen, who went more than one inning in 18 of his 76 appearances would be nice should a starter get into trouble early on in a contest.