After reporting last night that the Cincinnati Reds and right-handed reliever Pedro Strop were close to coming to an agreement on a deal for 2020, Hector Gomez of Z101 in the Dominican Republic is now reporting that the deal is done and it’s been confirmed by Ken Rosenthal. The base deal is for 1-year and $1,825,000. But he could earn nearly twice that if he reaches all of his performance bonuses.

In the 2019 season, as we wrote yesterday, Pedro Strop had the worst year he’s had in a long time. He posted a 4.97 ERA after not having an ERA as high as 3.00 in more than half of a decade. There were some signs that he still had plenty of stuff, and that he could rebound in 2020 – but he will need to make some improvements to reasonably expect his ERA to drop back to where it was. Whether that’s throwing more strikes again, or his home run rate getting back to where it had been in previous seasons – there was a little more going on in 2019 than just some bad luck resulting in a higher ERA.

When it comes to the performance bonuses in the contract, some of those seem more attainable than others. The games pitched bonuses all are within reach – though he’s only reached 75 games once and only 70 games twice. It’s the games finished that seem a bit tougher. While all bullpens are going to be different, Pedro Strop finished a career high 27 games in 2019. That’s a far cry from the 40 that is the lowest number on the games finished bonuses. Reds manager David Bell wanted to use the back end of the bullpen as more of a match up scenario in 2019, but that didn’t quite play out as it seemed he had hoped it would when the year began. 2020 may be different, but unless the plan is to go to a more traditional bullpen role, AND Strop becomes to closer, it’s tough to see those targets being met.

Pedro Strop Projections

The 2020 projection systems are mostly out by now. ZiPS aren’t out yet for the Cubs – which is where Strop would have been listed – but we do have Marcels and Steamer projections for the new Reds right-handed reliever for the 2020 season.

Impact on the bullpen

It feels safe that along with Strop, the Reds will also have Raisel Iglesias, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and Robert Stephenson in the bullpen for 2020. With Major League Baseball officially telling teams that they can only have 13 pitchers on the roster, it’s a safe bet that the Reds will use all of those spots. Accounting for the starters, and the above named relievers, that’s 10 spots taken up. That leaves just three spots available in the bullpen. Pitchers Cody Reed, Sal Romano, and Lucas Sims are all out of options. Those three will be facing plenty of competition for those final three spots in the bullpen – assuming everyone makes it through the spring healthy.

Guys with big league experience, and even some success are on the 40-man roster for the Reds. Matt Bowman, Jose De Leon, Joel Kuhnel, Justin Shafer, and Josh Smith fall into that group. But beyond them you’ve got arms from the minors looking to grab a spot with Tejay Antone and Ryan Hendrix. And then there’s the big question of how the team will use Tyler Mahle. Is he a potential reliever early in the year, or does he head back to Triple-A as starting pitcher depth just in case something happens early in the season and Cincinnati needs a quality starter to come up? Lots of questions on who gets the spots. And there are a whole lot of ways it could play out.

Photo of Pedro Strop by Keith Allison and was edited. The license can be found here.

66 Responses

  1. Justin

    All the names you listed, plus that string of minor league signings they had a few weeks ago, and there’s going to be some quality competition. I like our odds of coming out with an impressive group of 8.

  2. Tom Mitsoff

    With the incentives for games finished, it appears as though he will be given the opportunity to do just that.

    • Colorado Red

      Wonder if this is case, Iggy does not return for form.

  3. Daryl

    Thia has ro be the end for Schebler on the 40 man doesnt it?

    I really like this signing.

    I think this could lead to Iglesias pitching more in critical situations and Strop coming in just to get the last few outs. Iglesias the 7th or 8th inning guy or just when there is a critical out needed.

    There is a roster crunch on these guys though. With Reed, Romano and Sims out of options/ There is. no way all 3 of those guys make it. Reed could start on the DL. I think Romano could clear waivers. I like Sims and would like to see him on the team as a long reliever, spot starter.

    My bullpen would be: Strop, Iglesias, Sims, De Leon, Lorenzen, Garrett, Stephenson and my surprise pick: Nate Jones.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Schebler won’t make it through waivers. There are many teams that need an outfielder, and will certainly make a claim on a guy who has a 30-homer season in his past.

    • jon

      Iggy clearly hated the 7th-8th inning roll. He was also horrible in that roll.He wants to pitch in closing situations only.

    • Jefferson Green

      Reed to the IL? I haven’t heard anything about Reed dealing with an injury that will effect his spring; did I miss something?

    • JB

      Anybody know where I can find the 40 man roster? It use to be at the top on the menu but I cant find it anywhere on there. Doug?

  4. Ed

    Strop! Well, Gomez was right! Strop reminds me of Iglesias, but more outwardly negative. I wonder if that puts Raisel on the chopping block.

    • Colorado Red

      Doubt it.
      Bell just need to use Iggy correctly
      We are talking humans not machines.
      Analytics is great, but needs to be tempered.

  5. mark

    In my opinion Iglesias is more expendable to a team that needs a closer. I believe that Lorenzen can be the closer if he is really focused on doing that role on the field.
    I mean where is he going to get the ab’s on the field this year with the OF deeper than ever anyways?
    I mean I could see them trying to make a play for the Dodgers Seager now more than ever with signing of Strop. I would try to pry Seager away with an Iglesias, Winker, and Galvis deal.

    • Bmblue

      Seager for Iggy, Winker, Galvis, and one of our rookie hs corner infielders feels like a good deal on both sides..

  6. Linkster

    A really solid pick-up at a good price. The BP and minor league signings should put the Reds in a good spot. However, there still isn’t a LH RP to team with Garrett. Reed likely won’t be ready or placed on the DL.
    Shebler or Payton will likely be on the chopping block. Possibly could DFA Shebler and then trade him (and Siri) for some low-level prospects.

    • Bill

      Good point, Linkster
      A quality LH RP or 2 is a need for the Reds. IMO this is a major concern and lack on the projected 26 man roster. I’m still holding out hope for Cody Reed to show what he’s shown at Louisville.
      A lesser concern, but still a quality upgrade, is adding Brock Holt.

      • TR

        Brock Holt is needed as a second shortstop with Galvis or Seager.

    • cp

      Why would Reed start on the DL? I hadn’t heard he hasn’t recovered from his knee injury last year. Is he not expected to be ready for the start of ST?

    • Jefferson Green

      Reed has pitched well when healthy for the last year and a half. Unless there is a new or lingering injury that I haven’t heard about, I would expect him to be healthy and to be part of the opening day bullpen.

  7. Optimist

    Finally, a meaningful spring training competition amongst MLBers looking for roster spots, amongst all pitchers and OFers. Hope Blandino and Bowman don’t get lost in the shuffle, but they will have their chances.

    Really expect another deal, if not with the Dodgers, then an AL team for a SS.

    • Bill

      Any ideas of where that SS may come from? (Not sarcasm but a legitimate inquiry)

      • TR

        It seems to me Iggy’s time as a Red has run it’s course since he seems unable to function other than as a closer. Including him in a trade with the Dodgers for Seager makes sense.

      • Optimist

        Some discussion of Adames from the Rays, and faint rumors about Bogaerts and Semian. Likely other AL teams we’re not hearing about. Aside from Senzel, no high quality MLB rumors off the Reds, but lots of quantity, OF and Pitching, available.

      • Howie

        Reds should’ve re-signed Iglesias at SS when they had the chance. I’ll take his glove over Galvis any day.

  8. CI3J

    The “games finished” bonus is intriguing. I wonder if the Reds approached a team about a deal earlier in the winter and were told they had to include Rasiel Iglesias to get what they wanted?

    So in sum: Outfield is crowded. Strop brought in with an incentive-laden contract that seems to indicate he could close.

    I don’t know, it still feels like there’s one more big shoe to drop.

  9. Hotto4Votto

    Good pickup for the price. If he hits the incentives then all the better for the Reds.

  10. Old-school

    This allows Garrett and Lorenzen to be used in high leverage situations earlier but still have some finishers at the back end. Iglesias didn’t perform in non save situations. Strop gives bell a late inning guy to pitch in tied or close or extra inning games. Bell will burn through that bullpen and use everyone a lot. Really need the bullpen to stay healthy and Cody Reed and Amir Garrett to be dominant lefties.

    • JayTheRed

      If Iggy is not closing out games I want it to be Lorenzen. The more I also think about it I am not sold that a trade is going to happen unless its to get something for the guys who are out of options. Even then it probably will be a low minor leaguer back to us with a little upside.

  11. SultanofSwaff

    Romano is on the outside looking in…..Reed is a lefty and Sims is simply better , and better suited to long relief. Mahle starts in Louisville.—injuries happen so we’ll need him and Sims stretched out.

    Looks like the roster is all set?

    • CFD3000

      I hope you are spot on here SoS. I agree with your assessment, and hope the Reds FO does too. I think Reed and Sims could transform the bullpen in 2020. If they have four or five really strong set up and situational options – Garrett, Lorenzen, Stephenson, Reed and Sims – the bullpen could be a real strength. I don’t see Romano in the mix, and I’m skeptical that Strop will matter. Then it all comes down to Raisel Iglesias – bounce back, or more struggles? That will be a big key to 2020 success. But I’m liking the rest of the bullpen.

    • JayTheRed

      I have to agree I don’t feel like Romano makes this team anymore too many relievers with better quality stuff, and track records too.

  12. AirborneJayJay

    I would like to see Brock Holt added to the team mix. Payroll looks to be about $137MM-ish. They could still fit Holt in. But it would probably be more budget palatable if they could find a taker for Galvis and his $5.5MM salary. If they could sign Holt to a $4.0MM deal they could add that $1.5MM difference to the trade of Galvis to pay down his salary with an acquiring team. Holt made $3.6MM in 2019, so $4.0MM is about what he could expect. And $1.5MM is almost 30% of $5.5MM, so that is a decent to good paydown.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Completely agree, Holt makes the Reds better and won’t cost a ton. They’ll need someone other than capable of handling some of the SS duties. In fact I wouldn’t mind seeing him get the majority of the time there. The Reds actions and words have signified they aren’t completely sold on Galvis as your everyday SS. Go get it done Nick and Dick!

    • Tom Reeves

      Signing Brock Holt would mean the Reds will have signed 6 of the top 50 free agents. Plus, we still have Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Farmer from 2020 trades and Galvis from a wavier wire pick up.

    • jon

      it was $141m before Stroop. This could be it.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I believe that total was prior to knowing how Castellanos contract is structured. Finding out he’s making $10m with $6m deferred instead of $16m for 2020 means that figure comes down to $135m. Then add Stroup. Should still be room for Holt, especially in that $4-5m range.

      • Scott C

        If you trade away a couple ML players then that number comes down. Depending on who you trade how much. Plus I believe Castellanos 2020 cost is $10 million.

    • Jefferson Green

      Adding Holt as a part-time player could be a good addition, but I’m not sold on him as a regular starter. What am I missing? He hasn’t played SS everyday since AA ball, and only has averaged 7 starts per season there in his MLB career. When a part-time player goes to full time, his stats usually decline. Holt is also going into his age 32 season, which makes decline and/or injury higher risk.

  13. B-town fan

    Maybe straightening his bill will be the last little adjustment that Derek Johnson can make to his delivery that will make him the best pitcher he can be. The conversation would go something like this, Derek speaking ” you know Pedro that crooked bill, you can see that in your periphery vision and it’s messing with your balance in your delivery to the plate”. Pedro speaking ” but coach it’s cool it makes me stand out, I like being noticed”. Derek speaking ” well maybe there is another way we can find, to satisfy your need to be noticed”. A bit of tongue and cheek there but honestly if he and his crooked bill gets batters out, that’s great, it’s what matters, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it looks silly.

    • Westfester

      (Yells at kids to get off his lawn while shaking fist at a cloud)

    • DHud

      *shakes fist at cloud

      You know how he wears his hat has literally 0 correlation to his ability as a baseball player, right?

  14. CP

    I see Strop as a decent middle reliever addition to the competition for the bullpen, but he has to rebound from last year or the Reds will have no problem cutting their losses just like they did last year with Zach Duke. But he has good experience and could rebound nicely.

    Iglesias, Garrett, Lorenzen, Stephenson, Strop, Reed, Sims, & best of rest. I could see that last one being Nate Jones if healthy. I have loved following Romano, but I’m afraid he could lose his job this year. There will be a lot of competition for those bullpen spots, which is great. Competition will bring out the best of everyone. I love what I am seeing from the FO. They seem extremely committed to getting depth everywhere on the team.

    • JayTheRed

      I am really hoping Nate Jones can come back he was very good when healthy for the White Sox. If he does he probably gets high leverage situations with Iggy if he is still around by season start.

  15. Stock

    For the price it is okay but I think there is a chance he is gone by mid-season.

    Fastball velocity dropped 1.5 MPH from 2018 to 2019
    BB/9 is highest of his career and 1.15 BB/9 more than in 2018
    Swg K% goes from 16% in 2018 to 13.5% in 2019.

    4 locks: Iggy/Stephenson/Garrett/Lorenzen

    DeLeon could be best arm in the pen but I think this moves says the Reds want him in Louisville and to start games so he can start in 2021.

    Mahle would be a great pen arm also. Again I see this as his ticket to Louisville.

    Shafer – I think he is so underrated. I count him in for 2020.

    Reed – Out of options and again very underrated. In

    Sal Romano, Lucas Sims, Nate Jones, Bowman and Strop.

    I think if Jones is 100% he is in. I also like Sims in the pen and he is out of options. Bowman and Strop have plenty of experience. Romano is Reds option 11 (my option 13).

    If we are truly playing to win in 2020 you need to take your best 11 RP options north. Strop does not make the top 10 on my list.

    I think there must be a trade in the future.

    • Tom Reeves

      I guess we find out if his poor 2019 performance was due to injury or a drop in capability. The cool thing is that we have Derek Johnson and some nice pitching coach resources to increase the chances of one or more of these reclamation projects works out well for the team.

  16. RedsFan11

    Raisel Iglesias is over valued here on Redlegnation more than any player I’ve seen.

    The man literally put up 2014 JJ Hoover numbers last year, yet he can somehow be the centerpiece for any and every ‘trade’….

    Strop and Iglesias are at identical points in their career. Powerful stuff previous dominating stuff, but bad 2019s

    • Kenny G

      2014 Hoover 62.2 IP 13 HR 31 BB 75 K 4.97 FIP 1.388 WHIP
      2019 Iglesias 67.0 IP 12 HR 21 BB 89 K 3.92 FIP 1.224 WHIP

      He was literally 1 run per nine better than Hoover. In the words of the great Yogi, “That’s not nothing”.

    • JayTheRed

      Question… Does one bad season out of the bullpen make you bad the rest of your career?

      I don’t think so. It is not a good sign but you also have to consider injuries and how players were used. Iggy clearly does not like pitching in non save situations. I know it’s not the way for most teams anymore but with all the pretty good arms we have out there why not let him do the 9th inning. If he sucks then again this year about a quarter of the way make a change.

  17. RojoBenjy

    Now we need to have them sign Puig–you know, to really improve the clubhouse chemistry.

    • RojoBenjy

      Some guys wear the hat that way because of their arm motion hitting the bill of the cap otherwise—but I have no idea if that’s the case here.

  18. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I’m not too worried here. The bullpen is always a crapshoot, in my opinion. This one could be a pretty good bet.

    I believe we had a pretty good bullpen towards the beginning of last season. I believe they got tired towards the end of last season from pitching so much, causing their tailoff. The coaches possibly need to learn to go with the starters a bit longer this season.

  19. Norther Ky Reds

    Reds need to flip on trade mode. The guys out of options should get some good lefy reliever , or a chance to find another Luis Castillo or Chapman. They can really make some moves to replenish the minor leagues.

    • Matt WI

      Nice idea, but pretty much anybody they have to trade because they need roster space are not going to be bringing back players who replenish the farm in any (realistically) meaningful way until they get crazy lucky. Sal Romano, Schebler, Bob Steve, Phillip Ervin bring back no top 100 prospects. Maybe Winker and someone else. Otherwise, they’re simply left trolling for luck or trading for “organizational depth.”

      Cut whomever you have to cut, and otherwise wait until the season gets going to see where needs develop either by injury or inefficiency.

      • Optimist

        I suspect they will be able to trade from MLB depth and bring back some top 50-100 prospects. Consider the Roark deal – Hannah was #8 A’s prospect, not top 100, but that was only for 3 months of Roark. Most of the Reds trade candidates come with years of control at low cost, and proven, if nominal, MLB records.

        If anything, I wonder if the Reds would prefer “organizational depth” at the Rookie league/A/A+ levels – i.e. top 100-200 younger prospects. It’s a good position to be in.

  20. Jefferson Green

    It is great to feel a sense of trust in the pitching coach (and the total pitching leadership team around him). If they see upside in Strop, I’m in. If his velocity drop in down numbers in 2019 were injury and luck related, he is a very good add. If not, well, he is cheap enough to cut without much pain.
    And with all the other arms they have added to take a look at in ST, there should be depth, even accounting for inevitable health, injury, and performance problems. The tired BP of late 2019 will probably not repeat itself in 2020.

    • Matt WI

      Strop seems like a good test case for Kyle Bodden and his Driveline strategies… maybe he can bring those MPH ticks back up.

  21. BhamRedsFan

    Thanks for not being like Red Reporter that has to cuss to get a single point across.

    • JayTheRed

      Completely agree. I have stopped visiting their site and the podcast there I stopped listening to. Its too bad used to be a good site like this one.

      • JayTheRed

        This site I have lots of respect for how it is run and the podcast is very informational and occasionally humorous.