The Cincinnati Reds appear set to enter the 2021 season with Kyle Farmer as the team’s shortstop. Now, the front office should turn its attention to the bullpen. With a lot of turnover, perhaps the addition of a veteran like Jeremy Jeffress would solidify Cincinnati’s relief corps.
Cincinnati bolstered the back end of their bullpen last week with the addition of Sean Doolittle. The former Washington Nationals closer will be in the mix for the same role with the Reds this season. However, more help is needed.
Adding Jeremy Jeffress would make the Reds bullpen a strength of this team.
Jeremy Jeffress had a bounce-back season with the Chicago Cubs in 2020. After an injury-plagued 2019 campaign, Jeffress came back with a vengeance. The right-hander went 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA over 23.1 innings of work and recorded eight saves.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s time to move on and allow Amir Garrett to assume the role of the closer. After all, the Cincinnati Reds shipped Raisel Iglesias out of town earlier this offseason. While that sounds like fine opinion, I’m not sure that David Bell shares your sentiments.
Remember, when Bell first arrived in Cincinnati, the newly assigned skipper wanted to use Iglesias as his “ace” out of the bullpen. Bell wanted the ability to call upon Iggy, whether in the ninth inning or not, ini the highest-leverage situations. That resulted in Iglesias posting a 4.16 ERA and being hung with 12 losses.
Adding Jeffress to already formidable Cincinnati bullpen would solidify the backend. On paper, Doolittle, Garrett, and Lucas Sims look to get the lion’s share of late-inning appearances. However, outside of that trio, the choices are slim at best. Noé Ramirez is an experienced reliever and Tejay Antone looks the part, but neither one is really battle-tested.
That’s where Jeffress comes in. The former All-Star had his best season in 2018 with current Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson as his mentor. Perhaps reuniting the two in the familiar confines of the NL Central would prove to work out quite nicely.
You can never enough pitchers, and Jeremy Jeffress is one of the best relievers remaining on the market. After his bounce-back season in 2020, it’s doubtful thee 33-year-old could be had for a minor-league deal. However, an incentive-laden contract or even a multi-year pact may be enough to sway the former first-round pick to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.