Before the 2021 season started, left-hander Amir Garrett told anyone willing to listen that he wanted to be the Cincinnati Reds‘ closer this year. Following the trade of Rasiel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels and the decision to non-tender Archie Bradley, the backend of the Redlegs bullpen needed someone to step forward and fill the void.
Garrett certainly seemed like a viable option. The 29-year-old lefty was coming off an excellent 2020 campaign in which he limited opponents to just 10 hits in 18.1 innings of work while recording 26 strikeouts. However, AG did allow four long balls in those frames, and it’s been an issue that’s only worsened this year.
When you compare Garrett with other relievers who have tossed a minimum of 30 innings this season, the big left-hander simply doesn’t stack up. Tossing 33.1 innings in 2021, Garrett has been taken deep eight times, and his 2.16 HR/9 rate is the fourth-worst mark among all National League relievers.
Reds’ reliever Amir Garrett has worn out his welcome in Cincinnati.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only problem. Garrett has also been unable to find the strike zone nearly enough, as evidenced by his 22 free passes this year. As a result, AG’s current WHIP of 1.65 is the highest of his five-year career and the third-worst rate among senior circuit relievers.
Additionally, his -0.3 fWAR is the fifth-worst in the NL. So what will this horrific season net Garrett for the 2022 season? Believe it or not, a raise. Garrett will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this offseason and will be rewarded for his terrible season with a bump up from his current 1.5M salary.
Reds Country, you can complain all you want, but this is the economics of the game. It’s also the precise reason the Cincinnati Reds should simply not tender a contract to Garrett this offseason and let him walk.
Cincinnati will open the 2022 campaign with one veteran left-hander in their bullpen in Justin Wilson. The 33-year-old Wilson has a $2.3M player option for next season that he will undoubtedly enforce following a less than stellar season himself.
Next, let’s be honest, available MLB experienced relievers are plentiful in the offseason. Or, someone from Triple-A, say Reiver Sanmartin, might offer a better option than Amir Garrett at an increased salary. The 25-year-old Sanmartin is a southpaw who has fanned 45 in 44.1 innings while allowing only four homers for the Louisville Bats.
Finally, we must address the elephant in the room. Garrett’s antics are tired, and they’re a problem when you can’t back up your talk with results. Unfortunately, the only consistency he’s shown this season is attracting the ire of opponents with his unnecessary boasting.
Let’s not forget this is the same Amir Garrett manager David Bell lifted in the 10th inning against the Chicago Cubs during a May 2nd contest so he wouldn’t have to face right-handed hitter…Jake Arrieta. The same Arrieta who has two hits in 20 at-bats on the season with 15 K’s. That tells you everything you need to know about Bell’s confidence in the left-hander.
If David Bell can’t count on AG, why should the Cincinnati Reds front office reward a performance that ranks among the worst of all NL relievers. It’s clear that Bell has lost confidence in Amir Garrett, and general manager Nick Krall should follow his skipper’s lead and walk away from AG.