Tejay Antone is one of the few locks to be part of the Reds bullpen.
There’s going to be a logjam heading into spring training for those players looking to secure a spot among the Cincinnati Reds relief corp. While Tejay Antone may be given the opportunity to earn a spot in the starting rotation, I think it’s much more likely he takes the role held by Michael Lorenzen over the past few seasons while Mikey Biceps transitions into a starter.
Antone broke onto the scene last year and announced that he’s here to stay. During his 2020 rookie campaign, the 27-year-old started four games and made another nine appearances out of the bullpen. Antone’s numbers in relief were quite impressive, going 0-1 with a 1.89 ERA and putting up 27 strikeouts over 19 innings of work out of the bullpen.
As for who joins the quartet of Antone, Sean Doolittle, Amir Garrett, and Lucas Sims, there’s only two other players that I’d assume are safe and can be considered a lock for the Reds bullpen; Noé Ramirez, whom Cincinnati acquired from the Los Angeles Angels, and José De León, who’s out of minor league options.
Ramirez haas 184 games of major league experience, which is something that can’t be brushed aside. Last season, in 21 games, the right-hander posted a 3.00 ERA and struck out 14 batters. De León is a player the organization covets, so he’ll either be inserted into the starting rotation or find a spot in the bullpen.
The trio of Doolittle, Garrett, and Sims will likely find themselves working during the latter parts of the game and in high-leverage situations. Antone could find his way into the role as well, while it’s likely we’ll see Ramirez and De León enter the game between the sixth and seventh innings.