Cincinnati Reds: Future closer Lucas Sims is back in action

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Lucas Sims (39) returns to the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Lucas Sims (39) returns to the dugout. /

I wasn’t worried, were you? Cincinnati Reds right-handed pitcher Lucas Sims returned to the mound and looked no worse for wear. Sims had been sidelined earlier during camp as a precautionary measure, but the reliever looks set to lock down the closer’s role this spring.

That’s right, I said it. Lucas Sims, not Amir Garrett, should be the Reds closer heading into the 2021 season. Ever since Raisel Iglesias was shipped to Los Angeles in exchange for Noé Ramirez and an infield prospect, there’s been a friendly back-and-forth between Sims and Garrett on social media as to who’ll be Cincinnati’s closer in 2021.

Lucas Sims is the best option to be the Reds closer.

Both Sims and Garrett offer compelling cases to be the Cincinnati Reds closer in 2021. Sims emerged as David Bell’s go-to bullpen arm last season, appearing in a team-high 25.2 innings of relief work.

Garrett is one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. The southpaw punched out 26 batters of 18.1 innings and is the unequivocal emotional leader of the bullpen. Garrett has an imposing presence on the mound that few other relievers in Major League Baseball have.

I doubt that we’re going to have an answer to the closer’s debate when camp breaks in a few weeks. In fact, I could see a scenario where Sean Doolittle, who was brought to Cincinnati on a one-year deal and has experience as a closer, is handed that role to begin the season.

There’s also a tremendous chance that during the early portion of the 2021 season that Reds skipper David Bell employs a closer-by-committee approach. If you’ll remember before the 2019 season, that’s sort of what Bell wanted to do with Raisel Iglesias.

While Iggy was primarily the closer, Bell wanted the right-hander to be adaptable to coming into the game whenever the team needed outs. Bell viewed Iglesias as the team’s best reliever, but Iggy never became comfortable with that role and was hung with 12 losses in 2019.

Look for both Lucas Sims and Amir Garrett to get chances to close for the Reds.

I look for Lucas Sims, Amir Garrett, and Sean Doolittle to get opportunities aplenty to close out games during the month of April and May. Bell will be looking to see who has that “it” factor and who he can rely on when the game is one the line Don’t rule out Tejay Antone getting a few opportunities as well.

However, by midseason, I fully expect Sims to have taken control of the closer’s duties and be Bell’s go-to guy late in games. That said, if the ninth inning features a left-handed heavy lineup,  wouldn’t put it past Bell to turn to Amir Garrett.

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There’s no rush to determine the Reds’ closer at this point in the spring. In fact, I have no problem if David Bell employs a closer-by-committee all season. So long as your best pitchers are in position to lock the game down with the lead, it shouldn’t matter who’ve given the title of closer.