Cincinnati Reds: Wade Miley injury improves Brandon Finnegan’s chances

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan (69) heads for the bus after pitching the seventh inning.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan (69) heads for the bus after pitching the seventh inning. /

With Wade Miley sidelined with a hamstring injury, the chances of the Cincinnati Reds adding Brandon Finnegan to the Opening Day roster have improved. Finnegan, along with former first-rounder Jonathan India, was promoted to the big league spring roster, signaling his chance for redemption may have come.

Miley suffered the injury earlier this week. While I don’t expect Finnegan to take Miley’s spot in the rotation, I do foresee a path for the left-hander to find a home in the Reds bullpen. There’s a chance that Finnegan could open the season on the 26-man roster whether Miley is active or not.

Brandon Finnegan looks ready for his second chance with the Reds.

Brandon Finnegan has had his opportunities before. The lefty was part of the Reds rotation back in 2016 and started 31 games for Cincinnati that season. He went 10-11 with a 3.98 ERA and looked like a solid piece of the starting rotation moving forward.

Shoulder injuries during the 2017 season removed Finnegan from the rotation, and poor performances upon his return in 2018 kept him in the minor leagues. The left-hander was designated for assignment in 2019, but remained within the organization and was outrighted off the 40-man roster.

The experience was no doubt humbling, and Finnegan never got a chance to prove the doubters wrong with the absence of minor league season in 2020. However, he’s brought his A-game to Goodyear this spring and looks every bit like the player the team scouts thought they had when he was traded from the Kansas City Royals in 2015.

Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan hasn’t allowed a run this spring.

Brandon Finnegan has pitched extremely well this spring. In three games, including one start, Finnegan has gone five innings, struck out five batters, and hasn’t allowed a single walk. For the last two seasons, David Bell’s only real left-handed option has been Amir Garrett. With the addition of Finnegan and Cionel Pérez, that could change in 2021.

Finnegan, who’s still only 27-years old, has the chance to make the Reds Opening Day roster. If Wade Miley starts the season on the injured list, it’s likely that Tejay Antone or José De León move from the bullpen into the starting rotation.

Taking one of those players out of the bullpen would leave Bell with a stable of Garrett, Pérez, Lucas Sims, Jeff Hoffman, and Noé Ramirez. That’s six spots, and the smart money is on the Reds carrying eight relief pitchers into the April 1st clash with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Next. Who should replace Miley in the Reds rotation?

Finnegan, along with Sal Romano, Cam Bedrosian, Art Warren, and Josh Osich are likely in competition for the last few spots in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. Given that Finnegan hasn’t allowed a run all spring has to bode well for the former first-round pick.