The Minnesota Twins snuck into the postseason in 2017 despite a bullpen that largely ranked among the bottom third in all of baseball in many important statistics. That unit’s collective 7.66 K/9 sat just 0.02 above the Baltimore Orioles for the worst mark in the game, and their ERA (4.40) also ranked in the game’s bottom tier. And somehow, their 1.32 HR/9 rate was actually worse than than the 1.31 mark posted by the Cincinnati Reds and was good for the fourth worst in the game.
Perhaps a rather public admission of how not-good that unit was: the Twins actually traded Brandon Kintzler, their closer at the time, at the July 31st trade deadline, apparently admitting that cashing in on him had better reason behind it than trusting their team and their bullpen to make the playoffs. Hmm.
In other words, it should come as no real surprise to hear that the Twins have interest in Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias, as FOX’s Jon Morosi relayed on Sunday.
The Twins should have interest in Raisel Iglesias. You should. The Reds should. Everyone should, because he’s a really, really, ridiculously good reliever who - at just 27 - is much younger than the other available relief arms out there looking for contracts. Not to mention that those older, free agent arms are going to likely cost a lot more than the 3 years and $14.5 or so million Iglesias has remaining on his contract.
Iglesias posted a 10.9 K/9 in 76 IP in 2017, anchoring a Cincinnati bullpen that was otherwise dreadful. And when I say anchoring, I mean it, as he often eschewed the classic closer role to record saves of more than three outs, as those 76 IP in just 63 appearances display. He kept his personal HR/9 to just 0.59, too, which is something both attractive to teams like the Twins and impressive as hell given last season’s HR barrage league-wide. In doing so, he established himself as perhaps Cincinnati’s single largest trade chip, at least among those players at the big league level.
It’s his value as an asset that should have the Reds front office at least listening to offers from Minnesota and whichever other front office picks up the phone, whether they actually choose to move him or not. The closer trade market has seen highly touted players moved of late, with the likes of Gleyber Torres and Jorge Soler being swapped for just a lone season of Aroldis Chapman and Wade Davis, respectively, just within the last two seasons. That said, it would take both a tremendous haul for Dick Williams to consider moving Iglesias and a separate, massive bullpen overhaul after the fact, since the current M.O. for the relief corps should probably be focused on finding another Raisel Iglesias, not shedding him for prospects of another ilk.
If anything, this is merely a clear indication that the Reds have a very, very talented arm on their roster at a very, very desirable price - and that’s a great thing to have. Frankly, I’d be shocked if Iglesias was moved this winter, as Williams reiterated to The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan earlier in 2017 that the team isn’t shopping their long term pieces, but “listening is free.”