3 Reds relievers who could replace Amir Garrett in the bullpen after trade to Royals

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) throws a pitch. / Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services,
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In an odd turn of events, the Cincinnati Reds turned their attention to their current squad rather than the future with the addition of pitcher Mike Minor on Wednesday. In exchange for the left-handed starter, the Kansas City Royals received left-hander Amir Garrett; a mainstay in the Cincinnati bullpen.

While Garrett had a horrendous season in 2021, he was one of the few left-handed relievers in David Bell's bullpen. The addition of Minor to the rotation is nice, but subtracting AG from the relief corps leaves Justin Wilson as the lone lefty in the pen.

Amir Garrett was joined by fellow lefty Sean Doolittle to begin the 2021 season, and Cincinnati added Wilson at the trade deadline while eventually bidding farewell to the former Washington Nationals closer. Who, currently on the Reds roster, will replace Garrett in the bullpen?

1. Reds pitcher Daniel Duarte isn't a lefty, but could replace Amir Garrett

The Cincinnati Reds made five additions to the 40-man roster prior to the MLB lockout. Hunter Greene, Allan Cerda, Alexis Diaz, James Marinan, and Daniel Duarte were all added to the roster. Duarte looks ready for The Show.

Duarte spent last season at High-A Dayton, Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville. The right-hander put up some very impressive strikeout numbers, posting a 31.8% strikeout-rate and a K/9 of 11.71 over 37.2 innings of relief.

More appealing than his strikeouts might be Duarte's penchant for keeping the ball in the ballpark. The 25-year-old surrendered just three round trippers, good enough for a HR/9 of 0.72. There wasn't a lot of luck in Duarte's results either, as his ERA (3.11) and FIP (3.15) were eerily similar.

Daniel Duarte was to be given a chance to join the Cincinnati Reds bullpen prior to Amir Garrett being traded, but with AG off to the Royals, there's one more opening among the crop of young relievers. If Duarte has an impressive spring, look for the former Kansas City farmhand to find a spot in the Reds bullpen. Despite being right-handed, Duarte is very effective against left-handed hitters.

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Dauri Moreta (55) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Dauri Moreta (55) throws a pitch. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

2. Dauri Moreta could replace Amir Garrett in the Reds bullpen.

Dauri Moreta had a cup of coffee with the Cincinnati Reds in 2021 and is looking to expand his role in 2022. The absence of Amir Garrett will certainly help him to do that. Moreta was considered a fringe candidate to make the Opening Day roster out of Goodyear, but with AG gone, Moreta's opportunity seems ripe for the taking.

But the right-hander will still have execute in spring training in order to land a spot in the bullpen. Moreta showed great promise at both Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season. The 25-year-old has been in the Reds farm system for some time, but it seems like Moreta is finally getting noticed after posting a sparking 1.02 ERA in the minor leagues last season.

Moreta isn't going to blow you away with strikeout numbers similar to Daniel Duarte, but the added velocity to his fastball last season put the Dominican native on the Reds radar. The biggest difference between Dauri Moreta and Amir Garrett is the secondary offering.

AG has that fall-off-the-plate slider while Moreta has, well, little to nothing. Both Moreta's slider and changeup are fringy at best, meaning that locating his heater is what will get the reliever a seat at the table. If Moreta is able to develop better secondary offering, the sky is the limit.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Reiver Sanmartin (52) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Reiver Sanmartin (52) throws a pitch. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3. Reiver Sanmartin is the Reds best option to replace Amir Garrett.

With the addition of Mike Minor on Wednesday, I believe the Cincinnati Reds will scrap the idea of adding Reiver Sanmartin to the starting rotation. Instead, look for Reds skipper David Bell to move the left-hander to the bullpen where Sanmartin will have a better chance to make the Opening Day roster and have a bigger impact on the outcome of games in 2022.

Yes, Sanmartin looked very good in his two starts last season for the Reds, but let's not act like the southpaw was going head-to-head with the Los Angeles Dodgers, or even the St. Louis Cardinals. Sanmartin's successful debut was against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. The left-handed hurler went 11.2 innings, struck out 11 batters, and allowed two earned runs.

But Sanmartin is not built to be a starter over the long haul. The lefty has never filled out his 6-foot-2 frame, and while Sanmartin started 14 games at Triple-A Louisville in 2021, he also came on in relief seven times as well. With Amir Garrett now Kansas City, the Cincinnati Reds need an additional left-handed reliever, and Reiver Sanmartin fits the bill perfectly.

Sanmartin has a three-pitch mix that includes a slider and a changeup in addition to his fastball. The lefty can fill up the strike zone, doesn't walk many batters, and keeps the ball in the park (0.54 HR/9 in the minor leagues last season).

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With Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Vladimir Gutierrez, and now Mike Minor filling out four of the five spot in the rotation, Reiver Sanmartin's chances of starting a slim; especially with top pitching prospects Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo in the mix as well. Sanmartin's best shot to make the Opening Day roster is by replacing Amir Garrett in the bullpen.