Searching the bargain bin for veteran arms to bolster the pitching staff has been a hallmark of Cincinnati Reds offseasons during the team’s rebuild. It’s how they landed Blake Wood, Alfredo Simon, Dan Straily, and Ross Ohlendorf last year, and both Kevin Gregg and Jason Marquis joined the Reds in similar fashion in 2015.
(Good lord, 2015 was awful. I digress.)
Cincinnati continued with that pattern on Tuesday, signing former Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals reliever Louis Coleman to a minor league deal, as the team announced on Twitter.
Reds sign to a minor league contract and invite to Major League spring training camp RHP Louis Coleman.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 10, 2017
Included in that contract is an invite to the Reds' big league camp at spring training in Goodyear, AZ, and given Coleman's wealth of MLB experience, it's likely he'll get a legitimate shot to break camp on the active roster. That, of course, will largely depend on the health of his throwing shoulder, since he was shut down for most of the month of August last year with shoulder 'fatigue' and was shelled with a 10.80 ERA and .989 OPS allowed in the 11 September games he appeared in last year after returning from the layoff.
Coleman will turn 31 in April, and he'll hope to replicate the success he had earlier in his career, akin to the 2.69 ERA and 154 ERA+ posted from 2011-2013 with Kansas City. During that span, he struck out an impressive 10.3 batters per 9 IP against a reasonable 3.7 walks per 9 IP, but since then both his back-of-the-baseball-card numbers and peripherals have fallen off a cliff. In 85 IP since 2014, his K/9 has fallen to 7.4, his BB/9 has risen to 4.7, and his 4.87 ERA over that time falls right in-line with a rather unsightly 4.87 FIP.
Coleman became a free agent a month ago after being non-tendered by the Dodgers, and is out of options, as True Blue LA's Eric Stephen noted at the time.