The Cincinnati Reds are short on left-handed relievers. Will Cody Reed make the team out of spring training and join Amir Garrett in the bullpen?
While the Cincinnati Reds may not yet be finished shaping the 2020 roster, the picture is becoming clearer. The usual suspects, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suárez, and Luis Castillo, are sure to make the cut, but what about the bullpen? Will attention has been paid to the Cincinnati relief corps this offseason. Will Cody Reed join Amir Garrett as the only other left-hander in the Reds bullpen?
Make no mistake, Cody Reed has the talent to be an effective pitcher at the major league level. Last year, however, Reed barely got out of the gates before landing on the injured list with a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. This was after a solid three-game stretch with the Reds after starting the 2019 season at Triple-A Louisville.
Reed got the call on May 4th following the demotion of outfielder Scott Schebler. He would become quite familiar with the drive up and down I-71, as Reed yoyo’d between Louisville and Cincinnati. The left-hander ultimately pitched in three games for the Reds last season. Covering 6.1 innings of work, Cody Reed struck out seven batters and finished with a 1.42 ERA and 1.105 WHIP.
Major League Baseball is instituting a new rule next season that will require pitchers to face at least three batters or finish the half inning in which they appeared. The new rule is designed to speed up the game, and rather than managers bring in a pitcher for just one batter, the skipper must now trust the reliever to get multiple outs.
Reed’s career-splits are not encouraging. The former starter turned reliever has shown great success against lefties in the past, holding opposing left-handed hitters to .239 batting average against. That number jumps to .298 when Reed in on the mound against a right-handed batter. In fact, opposing right-handed hitters have an OPS of .897 against Reed.
Cody Reed is out of minor league options. Much like Robert Stephenson last spring, this is Reed’s last chance to be an effective pitcher on the Reds. Stephenson proved all his doubters wrong last season, emerging as one of Cincinnati’s best relievers. Will we see the same results from Reed this coming season?
First, Reed has to prove he’s healthy. After suffering the knee injury near the end of May, Reed never returned to the field. The only other left-handed option currently on the roster outside of Amir Garrett is Josh Smith. Smith’s 14-game major league career is a bit uninspiring. With a 6.39 ERA and 1.737 WHIP, one can assume the Reds have little confidence in Smith being a key piece of the bullpen.
At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to two things; how does Reed perform during spring training, and do the Reds intend to bring in another left-handed option via trade or free agency. If no other southpaw is brought in, I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that Cincinnati is willing to roll thee dice with Reed in thee bullpen.
Last year, Zach Duke was a disappointment and eventually was cut loose. Reed, like Stephenson last spring, will likely be given every opportunity to succeed. It’s up to him to prove that he belongs on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster in 2020.