The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly brought back old friend Ryan Mattheus, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon initially heard and SB Nation wunderkind Chris Cotillo later confirmed.
Hearing that #reds are close to bringing back RHP/reliever Ryan Mattheus. He was non-tendered earlier in offseason. Likely minor lg deal.— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) January 8, 2016
Source: Reds in agreement with Ryan Mattheus on minor-league deal. @m_sheldon said close earlier today.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 8, 2016
Mattheus, now 32 years old, had a ho-hum 2015 in the middle of a Reds bullpen that was often much worse than ho-hum, yet the team opted against keeping him on the 40 man roster in his first arbitration year and non-tendered him just after the season. He was scooped up by the Reds after being released by the Los Angeles Angels, and Mattheus threw 55 innings of 4.09 ERA ball, his 1.53 WHIP and 2.06 K/BB indicative of how he often struggled to keep runners off bases. He does provide some predictable veteran stability to what otherwise looks like a youthful, green bullpen, and on a minor league deal he won't eat up a roster spot for the time being.
As of now, there's no word on whether his beard will be back in the system, too, though I sure hope it returns so we can continue to confuse him with fellow former Reds Nate Adcock and Curtis Partch.
Baby steps, folks.