Cincinnati Reds: 5 players to lock up with a contract extension

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after recording the final out of the game. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after recording the final out of the game. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Archie Bradley #23 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during a game against the St Louis Cardinals.
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 01: Archie Bradley #23 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during a game against the St Louis Cardinals. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

5. Archie Bradley, Reds relief pitcher

Archie Bradley did not get much of chance to prove his worth in 2020. The former first-round pick was traded to the Reds at the deadline. In exchange, Cincinnati dealt utility player Josh VanMeter and outfield prospect Stuart Fairchild to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bradley made just 16 appearances last season, six of which were with the Reds.

Bradley’s story is similar to that of Cincinnati hurlers Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and Raisel Iglesias. Once a starting pitcher, Bradley excelled as a reliever. The right-hander has a fastball that sits in the high-90s and has been known to touch 100-MPH. He also has a nice 12-6 knuckle curveball.

Bradley earned his first save in 2017 and became the D-Backs closer in 2019. Bradley saved 18 games that season, throwing 71.2 innings and striking out 87 batters. While Bradley’s strikeout-rate hit a career-high of 27.4% that season, according to FanGraphs, he also posted a walk-rate of 11.4%.

The closer’s role currently belongs to long-time Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias, but his results the past two seasons have caused Reds Country to collectively hold their breath when the bullpen doors open in the ninth inning. Iglesias, in my opinion, is much better than many fans give him credit for, but his penchant for giving up the long ball is problematic.

Bradley’s 0.83 HR/9 is slightly better than Iglesias’ (1.05 HR/9) and may give David Bell more confidence heading into the ninth inning with a lead. Bradley has given up 15 home runs over the past three seasons, while Iggy has surrendered 25.

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Archie Bradley is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility and, according to MLB Trade Rumors, can expect to earn between $4.3M-$5.7M next season. Signing Bradley could be costly, as some of the best closers in the game are making upwards of $19M per year. Maybe a contract similar to what Ryan Pressly signed (two-years/$17.5M) before the 2020 season is a fair comp.