Raisel Iglesias has been the Reds closer for two seasons. He was great at it. Last off-season, the Reds signed Iglesias to a contract extension through 2021. Iglesias has 13 saves but been inconsistent. The Reds have used Michael Lorenzen for a handful of saves recently. David Bell is talking about a closer committee. That brings us to our question of the week:

Question: What should the Reds do with Raisel Iglesias?

Nick Carrington: The Reds should continue to use Raisel Iglesias in high-leverage situations, but he should be on a shorter leash. David Bell removed Iglesias when he struggled with command against the Astros, and he should be prepared to do that when need be.

Iglesias still has excellent stuff. But, he’s letting up way more lines drives and flyballs than he has at any point in his career. I see no reason to believe the batted ball numbers, which have produced a BABIP way above his career average, won’t move closer to what we have come to expect.

The Reds have some depth in the pen, with Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and David Hernandez all having strong seasons. They should be prepared to use that depth when Iglesias can’t find his command.

Wes Jenkins: Buy an old DeLorean, I’m sure most will do, refurbish it into a sort of time-traveling UFO with the help of your local neighborhood kook, crank that baby up to 88, and then trade Raisel Iglesias in July 2017. If that seems a bit too complicated, just trade him now. Don’t expect much of a return however.

The Raisel Iglesias saga has far surpassed the point of the sunk cost fallacy. The Reds don’t need to continue stashing him, waiting for him to be the best reliever again (he’s not and hasn’t been since 2017). The team needs to cut bait finally and move on. Let Lorenzen and Garrett share the high-leverage spots for now and maybe go after a decent arm in the offseason. But I don’t see much of a future for Raisel in Cincinnati anymore.

Bill Lack: I’d be shopping him. He’s apparently not happy with the way David Bell is using him (even though he was told about this in the off-season) and how Bell uses his BP isn’t likely to change. He signed a 3 year extension last year, which makes him more valuable. But his struggles this season would lower his value. 

Wouldn’t bother me to keep him, but if the Reds FO thought dealing him would improve the team, I think he’s replaceable on this team.

35 Responses

  1. Klugo

    This season: stay the course. His play will dictate his role. We are and always be trying to WIN every game.
    Beyond: I’d like to see the organization take another shot at stretching him out as a starter, if he’s open to it. He has a great arsenal. To me, Mahle and Disco (and Romano and Sims and Reed) are better suited for the pen than he is. All of those can improve their repertoire, but Iglesias has it. He’s in a funk right now, but those are just adjustments. If he can’t handle it, then slide him back into the bullpen. Now, taking a chance with one’s health is not something a player may want to do. But, I’d be open with him about it and gauge his interest.

  2. matthew hendley

    I would say trade him. market him up as a Change of scenery candidate and get what you can. There is depth, we can closer by committee for the rest of the season. Yea he can help the team win now, but his role is replaceable.

    If you find that delorean, I need it, and not for baseball stuff

  3. CFD3000

    Contract extension! He’s been a fantastic pickup for the Reds and possibly the MVP so far. He’s certainly provided the most value relative to the next best option (Peraza) by a mile. Wait, you’re asking about Raisel Iglesias? I was excited about Jose!

    Raisel needs to go. 1-7 with a 4.41 ERA and poor peripheral numbers is terrible for a reliever and especially a closer. Though no other reliever would even have been given that many opportunities to lose games. He has pitched badly, with a bad attitude. He is not making the Reds a better team. Time to shop him, or send him to Louisville and use better options in high leverage situations – Garrett, Lorenzen, Hernandez, Bowman, maybe even Stephenson. He’s literally the 6th or 7th best reliever on the roster right now. If he wants to go to AAA and figure it out, great. I’d love to see what Sims or Reed can do. And maybe he’ll rediscover his form. But if he’s unwilling (seems probable based on his 2019 attitude) or doesn’t return to form, then a change of scenery is in order. He’s pitched well in the past and has a fairly favorable contract. Get a prospect back and move on.

  4. RojoBenjy

    At this point, it seems equivocal to do either. The best I hope for if they do trade, that they get anything for him. What would be satisfactory is any move that offloads his entire salary from the Reds. Any money left on Cincinnati’s books for him is a loss in my view.

    Of course, it would be great for the team if he snaps out of this and starts dominating. I, like others, have noticed his bad attitude and it’s not a good look, nor a good fit. The prime example is how, after giving up the HR to Bour in LA, he doesn’t even look back, just holds up his glove for another ball, as if it had been a foul ball into the seats.

    No bueno.

  5. Pete

    Sell low and buy high. Ah, no – this would be foolish. Not a great time to trade RI, he has great stuff as Nick Carrington wisely points out. I keep him as closer and hopes he rebounds sooner than later, and then put him out on the open market.

    He should have been developed as a starter but unfortunately the Reds like to take their best arms and stick in the pen, Castillo the noted exception. It’s not too late but thinking out of the box doesn’t come easy with the Reds management. Klugo is on to something.

    Reverse the flawed thinking of the last 5-6 years and try something new.

    • RojoBenjy

      Remember that his shoulder got irritated really quickly when they stretched out his innings when he first began as a starter.

      • Pete

        Did they establish cause and effect? And by “they” I’m mean the invincible Reds medical staff? Send him to the Louisville and see if the condition repeats itself. For all we know, he may have a bum arm right now. Reds aren’t flushed with highly talented ballplayers and RI is. Good Lord the Reds have to start making better decisions.

        It’s been a while since they played with a decent hand of cards, they are now – don’t blow it.

      • RojoBenjy

        My guess is that they chickened out on trying that. And then they’ve missed their opportunity from now on.

  6. Shchi Cossack

    Designated closers are a luxury, not a necessity. A solid, deep bullpen is a necessity.

    As many contributors have observed for several years, sell high on relievers because reliever’s production is notoriously fickle. Unfortunately the Reds once again over valued their closer and missed the riverboat heading down the Ohio. Any illusion of Iglesias as an elite reliever has pretty much dissipated with his last two outings…3.0 IP w/ 7-ER, 2-HR, 5-H & 3-BB. With a $24MM contract covering the next 3 seasons, I doubt there is any trade value for Iglesias at this point.

    The only means of establishing any trade value is to pitch Iglesias regularly in a single inning role with no multiple consecutive off days between appearances and a short leash at the ready. If Iglesias can pitch 30+ additional innings this season while reducing his ERA, BB% & HR/9 to his career norms, the Reds may be able to find someone willing to provide some trade value for Iglesias and his remaining contract during the coming off season. I do not believe the Reds should have or want Iglesias’ contract hanging over their heads after the 2020 season.

    • RojoBenjy

      You would think that, as a successful businessman, that Bob C. would recognize things like this, regarding overvaluing assets, and selling high.

      Seems to have a blind spot when it comes to the business of running a baseball team.

  7. Westfester

    Side Note: HAPPY BOBBY BONILLA DAY! Still getting $1.2 Million to do nothing until 2035.

    • Big Ed

      This is a superb data point. Mets gonna Met.

  8. enfueago

    I think the Reds have to increase his usage. Whether that gets better results is up for discussion but it seems pretty clear they need help in that bullpen. Lorenzen and Garrett should not have been in again on Sunday but it is clear that there is zero confidence in Duke or Bowman. Its hard to disagree with feeling that way about Duke but what is the point of a reliever you can’t put in with a three run lead?

  9. doofus

    Package Raisel with another player? Roark and Raisel to a contender? Raisel and Yasiel?

  10. David

    I think his arm is off (well, duh), and his velocity is off (well, double duh), which is why his numbers are so crappy. There is no “figuring it all out”. He just is not throwing as hard.

    Keep pitching him in certain situations. Keep him until next year, and see if his arm strength bounces back. Then he might have some value again. I actually wonder if he would do better as a starter, but then again, he might hurt himself worse.
    It happens; sometimes guys just get so many innings on their arms and just lose velocity. It happened to Danny Graves. It happens to every pitcher sooner or later.

    As a player to be traded, he has never been worth less than now. He now has a big contract, too. What contending team would want him now?

  11. James H.

    He gets paid to pitch whenever his manager says to pitch, so march his ass out there and make him pitch. If he wants to ruin his career and look like an asshole to his teammates because he only wants to work when he feels like it, that’s on him.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Everybody knows everything about everybody.No secrets in baseball.Peformance for Iggy is what it is so again the team has done what they always do and that is fall in love with their players and pay them well.He has little or no value right now and I would be surprised if he could even be traded.Maybe as a throw in but his 3 year deal hurts that possibility so guess what we are stuck with another player that could have been traded when he had value.Best case is that he has more good outings then bad but he is a Red until the contract expires.Sound similar to others.Lets make in really fun and go out and sign Scooter and Puig to 3 or 4 year deals at 10M per year so we can have something to talk about in 2020 and beyond as their performance goes down down and then ask what happened.You pay players for what the data says they will do not what you hope they do or have done in the past.Signing a player to close for 3 years on a losing team regardless of the money is just dumb.More to come I am afraid.

    • David

      Good point about player management and personnel management. I wonder who is really calling the shots here? The “baseball” professionals or the family ownership? And the baseball professionals were hired by the family ownership. I detect a problem here of somewhat circular logic.

      Winning puts people in the seats. The Reds drew well this weekend because the Cubs were here and their annoying fans came to watch. So the Reds had a winning team in town.
      The Reds have had a string of losing seasons, and can keep that up with the right personnel moves. And Puig would probably want $20Mill a year. NO PROBLEM!!
      Let’s do it!

    • Pete

      Well, we can start the education right here at RLN and hope it spreads. Reds have just a couple of players signed to contracts after this season. Great time to trade off or not sign guys that will not help the team in future, sometimes the very near future. The first guy to be aggressively shopped is Roarke. He is pitching above his projected numbers, is old and not signed after 2019. This is a trifecta.

    • Lwblogger2

      But this team didn’t think they were going to be a losing team. They are starting to make their move with improvement in 2019 and looking forward to a run in 2020 and 2021. Maybe that is the dumb part but that’s where they are and likely what they were thinking. When the opportunity presented itself to lock up their best bullpen arm for those years and with him still un his prime, they signed him to a reasonable deal. A rebuilding team trades him last off-season instead of signing him. The Reds were done rebuilding in their eyes.

  13. Scott C

    Relievers except for a select few are undependable. As good as our bullpen has been this year everyone of our relievers have had bad outings, Iglesias probably the most notable. If anyone gives you a good offer for Iglesias take it. In fact I would offer anyone in the pen for the right return, except for Lorenzen (versatility) and Garrett (Left-handed).

  14. Mark Lang

    Kick him to the curb, girlfriend – he ain’t no good for you.

  15. Big Ed

    I’d give him a shot as an opener for Roark and/or Mahle, and let him go up to 2 innings. Aside from helping those two starters, it would give Iglesias some regular work, which is what I think he needs to get his mojo back.

    Openers are here to stay. If the Yankees are doing it, then everybody will be doing it.

  16. Josh M.

    I think he still looks really good against right-handed batters, but doesn’t have the stuff or confidence right now against lefties. He’s giving up a HR about every 10 PA to LHB, but I’d be fine using him in high leverage spots against righties.

    • Josh M.

      Checking my math:

      FIP (Career):
      vs LHB: 4.60
      vs RHB: 2.70

      FIP (2019):
      vs LHB: 8.43
      vs RHB: 1.77

      • Big Ed

        Not even Bronson Arroyo was that bad against lefties. They kind of throw the same way, but Iglesias throws about 15 mph faster.

        Iglesias should stop dropping his arm angle against lefties. The side-arm stuff isn’t working.

  17. Hotto4Votto

    Been a proponent of trading him for the past few seasons. As Steve says, always be trading closers. His value’s lower now than those other years, but with control and cost certainty he should still net someone of value.

  18. lwblogger2

    As the team isn’t in contention but considering Iglesias has 2 more years on his deal, I can easily see both sides of this.

    On one hand there is the “Always be trading Closers” rule, which has been advocated quite a lot. On the other hand you have the “A team that’s going to compete needs someone to close out games.”

    Going on the assumption that the Reds are trying to compete in 2020 and beyond, then I’d be fairly reluctant to trade Iglesias. I wouldn’t actively shop him. Why? Well it isn’t so much about just closing out games. It has more to do with this simple question. Can the Reds get the same kind of production for the same amount of cash? If you move Iglesias then there is a whole in the pen where he was. Either you need to pick up a “Closer” or your in-house options need to close. Who works the high-leverage situations in the 7th and 8th? The 6th?

    Now the wildcard really is this. If the Reds want to use Iglesias in non-traditional (since the 80s), non-save, high-leverage situations, and if Iglesias continues to be resistant to such usage and continues to not perform well in those circumstances; I think you have to shop him. The players don’t run the team. While a player may have a say, at the end of the day the player needs to perform in the situations that managment wants to use him in.

    With the way he’s currently performing, if the Reds do decide to move him, I wouldn’t be shocked at a rather low return. He’s got a good team-record and he’s not having a bad year exactly, but he’s owed pretty good money (not unreasonable). The team wanting to aquire him also may want to use him in those situations he’s been unhappy and non-performant (small sample) in.

  19. Bailey

    Aye Carrington son. Whoever told you David Hernandez is having a strong year is liar!!!

  20. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I’d trade him. Until Raciel improves, his contract is a bad contract.

  21. Rusty

    Try to trade him to the Yankees for Clint Frazier. And please sign Yasiel Puig or you will be sorry you didn’t. Put Frazier in center,Puig in right,Senzel in left.

    • Lwblogger2

      Rasiel is not netting Frazier. Not even if the Reds kick in a top prospect like Trammell.

  22. TR

    It’s obvious Raisel is in a funk. If Bell and Johnson have not already had a sit down with him, they should. Bell should use Iglesias the way he sees best to win, and not only as a closer. If this doesn’t sit well with him, then the FO should proceed to trade Raisel. Bell is in charge and he obviously has his ideas about how to work the pitching staff. Dissension on a struggling team like the Reds from one of your main pitchers is not the way to go.

  23. Cyrus

    The comment about the short leash is interesting. During one of the two WS championships the Cardinals won this century, do you recall how LaRussa never hesitated to pull his closer(s)? I guess Duncan would lean over early on if he sensed the pitcher did not have it and LaRussa would promptly go get him. He seemed to always have someone up throwing after the 7th inning. I don’t think Bell has the experience or leverage to do something like that but those of us who watch the Reds regularly can usually tell when one of our pitchers is “off”. You could tell Lorenzen was off from the get-go yesterday. And Garrett has not been as dominant either, especially if asked to pitch in multiple innings.