2 contract extensions the Reds should pursue and 2 they should avoid (for now)

The Reds won't be able to sign every one of their young stars over the long haul.

Cincinnati Reds players Alexis Diaz, Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds players Alexis Diaz, Elly De La Cruz / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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The Reds should jump at the chance to sign Alexis Diaz to a contract extension

No, this is not a joke. While the starting pitching market has skyrocketed in recent years, the reliever market is becoming increasingly expensive as well. The Cincinnati Reds have a bona fide closer in Alexis Diaz, and if this team wants to contend for championships, they're going to need a guy who can lock it down in the ninth inning.

There was a stretch last season where Diaz was arguably the best reliever in the game. Last season, Diaz was riding a 27-game save streak until the San Diego Padres finally put a stop to it. If half of your team's games are going to be played at the bandbox that is Great American Ball Park, you need a closer who's going to get strikeouts when it matters most.

Diaz was given a bit of a trial run as the Reds closer in 2022. Hunter Strickland handled closing duties to begin the season, but the veteran was eventually replaced by Diaz over the last few months. The right-hander was anointed as the Reds closer in 2023 and made eight multi-inning appearances last season while recording 37 save and striking out 86 batters over 67.1 innings of work.

If you look at Diaz's stats from the beginning of the season through July 31st, the reliever posted a 2.09 ERA, 2.58 FIP while 68 punch outs in 50 appearances and converted 32 of 33 save opportunities. That is elite.

Unfortunately, the bullpen as a whole was overworked down the stretch, which caused Diaz's numbers to look a bit skewed. Diaz slogged through the final two months with a 5.40 ERA and nearly as many walks (16) as strikeouts (18).

Alexis Diaz's performance to this point in his career does not warrant the same type of contract that his brother Edwin received (five-year, $102 million), but buying out the 27-year-old's arbitration years and tacking on a couple of team-options beyond the 2027 season would be a wise move on the Reds' part.