1 under-the-radar Reds player who should be signed to a contract extension

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cincinnati Reds were to offer one contract extension to a player before the season begins, who should it be? Names like Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson come to mind, but the team has a large group of players who look to be part of the future.

The list of talented, young players is long. Knowing the Reds won't be able to afford all of them over the long haul, they need to strategically start locking up some of their core players sooner rather than later.

When you look at the team's pitching staff, the household name is Hunter Greene. A former second-overall pick, Greene has an elite fastball and was once on the cover of Sports Illustrated and referred to as “Baseball’s LeBron”. However, Nick Lodolo isn't that far away from being that household name himself. 

Why the Reds need to sign Nick Lodolo to contract extension

Over his final 10 starts last year, Nick Lodolo found success. So much so, that he became the second rookie in major league history to ever register back-to-back starts with 11 strikeouts and no walks issued.

During those last 10 starts, Lodolo posted a 3.13 ERA with a 30.3-percent strikeout-rate and limited opponents to just a .199 batting average over 60.1 innings pitched. Mix that with Lodolo's very impressive spring in which he went 4-0 in four starts with just a 1.93 ERA, striking out 19 in 14 innings on the mound. 

Lodolo has the ability to turn into an All-Star caliber player rather quickly. His 6-foot-6 lefty frame allows his fastball to get to the hitters quick, and he mixes it with his disappearing breaking ball that tallied a 44.2-percent whiff rate last season.

The Cincinnati Reds have no shortage of options when it comes to players who may considered for a contract extension. Fans may have doubts about signing a pitcher to a longterm deal when thinking back to the contract that Homer Bailey signed. This shouldn't be the case this time.

With such a large group of promising young players, the Reds can compete in a fairly weak division in the coming years. Being able to know for some of these players will still be around will make that much easier. 

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