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This former Reds draft pick may find a home in the Cincinnati bullpen

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ben Lively (49) throws a pitch.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ben Lively (49) throws a pitch. / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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A former fourth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, Ben Lively agreed to a minor-league deal with his former team. Lively was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the 2014 season in exchange for outfielder Marlon Byrd.

Lively has spent the past three seasons overseas in the KBO. While pitching in 36 games for the Samsung Lions, Lively posted a 4.14 ERA over 202.1 innings before succumbing to a shoulder injury that ended his 2021 season prematurely.

Though typically a starter, Ben Lively may wind up in the Reds bullpen.

Ben Lively has long since been viewed as a starting pitcher. His first stint with the Cincinnati Reds saw the right-hander rocketed through the team's farm system. In his first full season in the organization, Lively blitzed through High-A and Double-A, posting a 3.04 ERA in 151 innings of work.

Lively was then dealt to Philadelphia for Byrd, a trade that netted the Reds 96 games worth of the then 37-year-old outfielder. Byrd mashed 19 homers and posted a .735 OPS in 2015 for Cincinnati before being dealt to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Stephen Johnson.

Lively has a four-pitch mix, so entering the conversation of being part of the rotation doesn't seem out of line. However, the Reds seem to have the makings of the 2022 starting rotation already in place.

If all three pitchers are still part of the team once Opening Day comes around, one would assume that Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sonny Gray will complete three-fifths of the starting rotation. Last year's rookie Vladimir Gutierrez along with Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Reiver Sanmartin all figure to be in the mix as well.

But with all the trade rumors surrounding the team's trio of starters, there may be a spot or two up for grabs. Still, it seems like the relief corps might be a better fit for Lively than the starting rotation. Cincinnati figures to have a handful of spots in the bullpen available when spring training rolls around.

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Ben Lively has a 4-10 career record in the majors with 20 starts and six appearances out of the bullpen. His 1.6 bWAR and 80 punch outs over 120 major league innings pitched isn't overly impressive, but Lively may be duking it out with another former starter in Jeff Hoffman for the role of long reliever next s

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