The Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans is reporting that Jose “Jumbo” Diaz, the closer for AAA Louisville, may be arriving in Cincinnati today. If those reports are accurate, he’ll be taking a roster spot in the bullpen.
[Update: The Reds announced Jumbo Diaz has been promoted to the Cincinnati Reds.]
That raises the question of whose spot he’ll take.
[Update: The Reds announced the demotion of Tony Cingrani to AAA Louisville.]
Much would point in the direction of Tony Cingrani, who was only recently moved out of the starting rotation. Bryan Price had said that Cingrani’s role in the bullpen was important to the major league team, which is why he wasn’t initially moved to AAA where he could continue to develop as a starter. (Mike Maffie has a good analysis on Cingrani today: What Happened to Tony Cingrani?) Cingrani earned the loss yesterday in his second inning of work after three controversial calls, a balk, hit by pitch and the final pitch of the game.
On the other hand, Cingrani’s departure would leave Bryan Price with one left-hander in the pen, Manny Parra, outside of closer Aroldis Chapman. Sean Marshall is on the disabled list.
My guess is that it’s Cingrani that gets sent down, but what we don’t know is if one of the right-handed pitchers might be headed to the DL. The timing makes sense, coming right after a 12-inning game.
The Reds will also have to make a 40-man roster move, which could involve releasing a player or moving someone from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL.
[Update: The Reds placed pitchers Trevor Bell and Sean Marshall on the 60-day disabled list.]
The Skinny on Jumbo
Diaz is a 30-year-old, right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic. He joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2002 and has also spent time in the minor leagues with the Rangers, Orioles and Pirates before coming to the Reds in 2013.
Diaz has closed for the Bats this year and last. In 2014, he has pitched in 30 games over 33.1 innings. He has 18 saves in 19 opportunities and an ERA of 1.35. He’s struck out 31 and walked 10. He last pitched on Wednesday. Diaz also closed for Louisville in 2013, with 13 saves in 14 opportunities.
Diaz had an impressive 2014 spring training with the Reds in Goodyear. He appeared in 9 games and 8.1 innings. He gave up three hits and six walks while striking out eleven.
Reports put Diaz’s fastball near the 100-mph mark. John Fay wrote last spring of a possible breakout season for Diaz. That article also has several interesting quotes, including from Bryan Price and Diaz himself, about the pitcher’s success at losing weight prior to the season. Fay quotes Price: “I knew he had velocity. Sometimes when a pitcher makes a commitment to do a significant weight-loss program, they’ll initially lose some fastball. He hasn’t. His velocity has been consistently in that 94 to 97 mph range. A lot at 96, 98. He’s got a real good split and useable breaking pitch, a slider.”
If you want a more detailed scouting report, head over to Doug Gray’s site and read this.