CINCINNATI — Instead of using internal candidates, the Reds appear to have turned to the free-agent market for a closer. They agreed to terms with left-hander Sean Doolittle on a one-year, $1.5 million deal, plus performances bonuses, a source told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
The club has not announced a
CINCINNATI — Instead of using internal candidates, the Reds appear to have turned to the free-agent market for a closer. They agreed to terms with left-hander
The club has not announced a signing, but it’s likely it will wait to do so until Doolittle passes a physical.
Doolittle, 34, threw just 7 2/3 innings over 11 appearances with a 5.87 ERA for the Nationals in 2020, after he missed time with right knee fatigue and a right oblique strain.
Injury issues have persisted throughout Doolittle’s nine-year career in the big leagues with the Nationals and A’s. He has been on the injured list nine times since 2014, but he has a lifetime 3.07 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and 111 saves.
Cincinnati didn’t have a clear-cut closer for 2021 after Raisel Iglesias was
Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims and Michael Lorenzen were all considered possibilities to close. Garrett and Sims could be top late-inning setup choices for manager David Bell. Lorenzen is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation, but he could also figure into the bullpen plans.
Doolittle was a 2018 All-Star and won a World Series for Washington, but he will have to re-establish himself in ’21. Besides enduring injuries last season, he also battled with diminished velocity on his fastball. At its peak, Doolittle’s four-seam fastball averaged 95.4 mph in ’16, and it never tracked less than 93.3 mph for a season. In ’20, the four-seamer averaged 90.7 mph.
The Reds are no strangers to having left-handed closers. Over the years, they’ve employed lefties like Aroldis Chapman, Randy Myers and John Franco in that role.