The Cincinnati Reds have already agreed to one contract extension after signing catcher Luke Maile to a one-year/$3.5-million deal with an option for 2025. Perhaps it's time for another.
Lucas Sims is the lone Reds player who'll be entering his final year of arbitration eligibility with the club this offseason. In short, Sims will be a free agent after the 2024 season.
While the Reds are likely to find an upgrade or two for the bullpen this winter, perhaps hanging on to one of the stellar relievers should be part of the equation as well. Did the Atlanta Braves give Cincinnati the blueprint for a potential Sims' contract extension?
Braves give the Reds the blueprint for a Lucas Sims' contract extension
On Thursday, the Atlanta Braves took a potential free agent target off the market by agreeing to a two-year contract with reliever Pierce Johnson. The deal will pay Johnson $14.25-million through 2025.
When you put Johnson's stats side-by-side with Lucas Sims' line from last season, you'll see a lot of similarities. Johnson appeared in 67 games while splitting time between the Braves and Colorado Rockies last season. The right-hander was 2-6 with a 4.02 ERA.
Sims, coming off a back injury from the year prior, went 7-3 with a 3.10 ERA in a career-high 61 innings pitched. Sims also inherited a ridiculous 55 runners in 2023 and allowed just 15 (27.2-percent) to score. Johnson allowed 31-percent of his 16 inherited runners to dent the plate.
When you look at the numbers side-by-side and examine the roles that both Sims and Johnson played with their respective teams, you can easily see how the Braves have laid the groundwork for a potential Sims' contract extension.
While the temptation to offer a contract extension to one of the young players like Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, or Matt McLain is tempting, the reality is that all three of those players are under team control for a long time. In fact, Marte's rookie status is still intact.
The Reds would do well, while still having very few long-term commitments, to secure Sims for the next two or three seasons. Doing so will help add stability to the bullpen and allow cost certainty for the next couple of seasons.
When Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell needed a strikeout, he turned to Lucas Sims. If you've been watching the MLB Postseason, you've noticed the importance of a deep, effective bullpen. The Reds would be wise to lock up Sims for a few more seasons.