Former GM Jim Bowden's free agent prediction for the Reds is laughable

Minnesota Twins pitcher Michael Fulmer
Minnesota Twins pitcher Michael Fulmer / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Pardon the laughter, but of all the people in baseball media, you'd assume that former Cincinnati Reds general manager Jim Bowden knows how things work in Reds Country.

Bowden, who's a contributor for The Athletic (subscription required), decided to put together a list of 30 free agent fits for each team. Now, to Bowden's credit, not every selection was as off the wall as his prediction for the Reds.

Bowden foresees a good fit between Josh Bell and the Cleveland Guardians, Cody Bellinger and the Houston Astros, and Elvis Andrus and the Los Angeles Angels. But Michael Fulmer to the Cincinnati Reds? C'mon, Jimbo!

Jim Bowden's free agent prediction for the Reds is laughable.

In Jim Bowden's fantasy world, the Cincinnati Reds would be a great fit for Michael Fulmer. Bowden, like many Reds fans, sees the need for relief help. And after seeing the fine season that Fulmer put together while pitching for the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins, no one is going to argue that the right-hander fills a need.

Fulmer, while splitting time between two American League Central foes, posted a 3.39 ERA in 67 appearances. Fulmer is just 29 years old and would certainly bolster the Reds relief corps.

But here's the kicker...Bowden suggests that the contract would be for three years at $39M. That's $13M a year for a reliever. Not only that, but a reliever who wouldn't even be the team's closer. That job is going to belong to Alexis Diaz until the wheels come off or until Bob Castellini and the Cincinnati ownership group decide the right-hander's salary is just too much to handle.

Yes, the Cincinnati Reds should be in the market for a reliever. But not one that's going to cost the team $39M over three seasons. Heck, if we're out here playing with Castellini's money, at least throw it at an outfielder like Michael Conforto or Mitch Haniger.

The fact that Jim Bowden even mentioned a three-year contract offer for a reliever shows just how little he's paying attention these days. If we're talking about the New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers, sure. But in no way will the Reds dole out $30-plus million for a reliever heading into the 2023 season.

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