The Cincinnati Reds have not publicly said that the club will look to acquire an additional reliever or two during the upcoming offseason, but it's safe to assume that's the case.
There are any number of ways the Reds' brass can go this winter. Whether it's a ground ball pitcher, a left-handed specialist, or a high-volume strike-thrower, the Reds will have their pick with a very loaded crop of free agent relievers.
But count Pierce Johnson among those relievers who are no longer for hire. The Atlanta Braves re-signed the right-hander to a two-year contract, keeping him off the open market this winter.
Possible Reds' free agent target off the market after signing new two-year deal
Pierce Johnson, who'll turn 33 years old next season, agreed to terms on a two-year/$14.25-million contract extension with the Atlanta Braves. Johnson was a trade deadline acquisition of the Braves this past summer after he agreed to a one-year/$5-million contract with Colorado Rockies last offseason.
Johnson gets strikeouts, and that's something that Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson values a lot. If you look at the Reds' bullpen, you'll notice that there aren't many pitch-to-contact type guys among Cincinnati's relief corps. The Reds are looking for guys who can grip it and rip it.
Johnson certainly fit that mold. According to Baseball Savant, the right-hander posted a 32.5-percent strikeout-rate and a 33.1-percent whiff-rate. Both rank among the 90th percentile in Major League Baseball.
With Pierce Johnson off the board, the Cincinnati Reds will have to turn their attention toward another target or two this winter. A hard-thrower like Jordan Hicks could pique the Reds' interest, and so could Keynan Middleton.
By the way, Reds fans, get your head out of the clouds if you think the team has eyes on Josh Hader this offseason. That one's not going to happen.