If the Cincinnati Reds were looking for a diamond in the rough, they may have found it with the performances Reiver Sanmartin turned in during the final week of the season. Now, two starts won’t solidify his role as a starting pitcher, but Sanmartin has certainly played his way onto the offseason roster and could compete for a role on next year’s Opening Day roster.
What that role is, who knows? Sanmartin started two games for the Reds in 2021 and took home the win both times. Sanmartin went 11.2 innings, struck out 11, and allowed just two earned runs. Sanmartin only walked two batters and his ERA 1.54 over those 11-plus innings is quite impressive for a rookie.
Now, let’s not go overboard here. Both of Sanmartin’s starts came against the Pittsburgh Pirates who were one of the worst hitting teams in the league and lost over 100 games on the season. Still, you can’t fault Sanmartin, he can only pitch against the team that’s on the schedule.
Will Reiver Sanmartin be a starter for the Reds or come out of the bullpen?
Reiver Sanmartin is no stranger to working in relief. Of his 25 appearances in the minors this season, eight came as a reliever. With Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft proving that they’re deserving of a spot in the starting rotation, not to mention that Cincinnati has the ability to bring all five of its starters back, perhaps the bullpen is a better spot for Sanmartin.
A low-slot lefty out of the bullpen would be a huge plus for David Bell’s relief corps. None of the left-handed relievers the team employed this season did much of anything in a Reds uniform.
Amir Garrett fell flat on his face and should be non-tendered this winter. Sean Doolittle, Cincinnati’s lone major league signing this past offseason, was cut loose midway through the year. Justin Wilson, who was acquired from the New York Yankees along with Luis Cessa, pitched 16 innings and recorded a 2.81 ERA.
I think we’ll see Reiver Sanmartin fill a similar role to what we saw from Jeff Hoffman in 2021. Hoffman entered spring training as part of the Reds bullpen, but injuries forced Bell’s hand and Hoffman gather a handful of start during the season before succumbing to injury and eventually landing in the Cincinnati bullpen.
The Cincinnati Reds are likely to be thrifty once again this offseason, and adding Sanmartin to the bullpen would give the team another lefty in addition to Wilson who’s stuff is obviously good enough to record outs at the big league level. While joining the 2022 rotation isn’t out of the question, I think the bullpen is better fit for Reiver Sanmartin.