3 Reds rookies, not in the starting rotation, who will have an increased role in 2023

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Alexis Diaz.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Alexis Diaz. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 3

2. Reds RHP Alexis Diaz will have an increased role in 2023.

Despite calls from the Cincinnati Reds fanbase to part ways with Hunter Strickland and elevate Alexis Diaz to the role of closer, manager David Bell waited until after the trade deadline to make the move.

But once the move was made, it was apparent that inserting Diaz as the Reds closer was the right call. Diaz ended his rookie season with a 1.84 ERA and a 0.958 WHIP. The right-hander struck out 83 batters over 63.2 innings of work and finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

The reliever's name has already been mentioned in trade rumors this offseason, with the New York Mets interested in acquiring the younger brother of Edwin Diaz. But not only would the price tag be incredibly high, the Reds front office has made it clear that they wish to build this franchise from the inside out. There's no better pitcher to call upon out of the bullpen than Diaz.

While Lucas Sims, Tejay Antone, and Tony Santillan are all expected to return in 2023 and play a key role in what fans hope is an improved bullpen, it's doubtful that anyone unseats Diaz from his role of closer.

The life of a reliever can be a curious one, so to heap such lofty expectations onto Alexis Diaz's shoulders may prove to be too much for the 26-year-old. But Diaz is going to have a much more prominent role on next year's Cincinnati Reds team.