Reds re-signing Jesse Biddle indicates big bullpen additions are unlikely

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 27: Jesse Biddle #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the seventh inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 27: Jesse Biddle #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the seventh inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Reds re-signed Jesse Biddle and R.J. Alaniz to minor-league contracts.

With an eye toward slashing payroll heading into the 2021 season, it seems doubtful that the Cincinnati Reds will put a lot of money into the bullpen. In fact, the front office has already dismissed two of their better relievers. The two signings over the weekend indicate what many Reds fans fear; no major additions are on the way.

Put the idea of Trevor Rosenthal and Brad Hand out of your mind, folks. Cincinnati recently re-signed left-handed reliever Jesse Biddle and right-hander R.J. Alaniz. Alaniz was non-tendered just earlier this month.

Biddle appeared in just one game with the Reds last season, allowing one hit, one walk, and striking out one batter in 0.2 innings of work. Alaniz, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, didn’t see the field last season.

Sure, both Biddle and Alaniz offer depth in the minor leagues, and give the team a couple fresh arms that can bounce between Triple-A Louisville and the big leagues in 2021, but neither pitcher is going to be an impactful presence in the bullpen. Sadly, this is likely to be the norm heading to Goodyear next spring.

I’d expect a few more signings like this in the coming weeks. There’s the possibility that Cincinnati may re-sign Tyler Thornburg and maybe Nate Jones will be an option as well. The bottom line is, don’t look for the Cincinnati Reds to bring in any big names to fill the void in the bullpen.

After trading Raisel Iglesias and non-tendering Archie Bradley, the Reds have two giant holes in the back end of their bullpen. Furthermore, if Michael Lorenzen makes the transition back into the starting rotation, Cincinnati will have another hole to fill. For now, the front office seems content with Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims as the primary hurlers when the game is on the line.

I’m okay with that. I’ll actually be Sims’ biggest cheerleader if he’s moved into the closer’s role. Sims attacks hitters and his spin-rate is outta this world. Garrett would be a nice option if the opposing team had a left-handed heavy lineup heading into the ninth inning, otherwise I like the role that AG currently occupies.

Still, it’s going to take more than the combination of Lucas Sims and Amir Garrett to get outs late in games over the course of the coming season. Tejay Antone will surely get a boatload of innings as well and maybe José De León can bounce back from his underwhelming (18.00 ERA) 2020 season.

Next. 3 bargain relievers the Reds should target

If the likes of Jesse Biddle and R.J. Alaniz are the extent of what the Reds plan to add to their bullpen this offseason, fans will need to see big leaps forward from prospects Joel Kuhnel, Ryan Hendrix, and others in 2021.