The Chicago Cubs granted free agency to a fringe bullpen arm just after the end of the 2017 season, and the Cincinnati Reds proceeded to scoop him up on a minor league contract the first week of 2018. That, you’ll remember, was how the Reds originally landed Dylan Floro, who went on to fire 36.1 innings of excellent 2.72 ERA ball in Cincinnati last season prior to being flipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers for promising young pitching prospect James Marinan.
The Reds will hope a similar signing on a similar pattern will work in their favor again this time around. On Monday, reliever Anthony Bass - who was granted free agency by the Cubs after the 2018 season - announced on Twitter that he’d joined the Reds.
Pumped to get the 2019 ⚾️ season going with the @Reds!!— Anthony Bass (@AnthonyBass52) December 31, 2018
The minor league contract was corroborated by Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage.
Bass is a might bit older than Floro - 31 years old to Floro’s 27 at the time of his signing last year - but there’s still a decent chance Bass can provide some bullpen depth at the big league level in 2019 in a similar fashion. Bass pitched to a 2.93 ERA and 2.77 FIP in 15.1 IP for Chicago at the big league level during 2018, with an impressive 14/3 K/BB in that limited action. The former 5th round pick by the San Diego Padres also had solid success in his stint with AAA Iowa in the extremely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, his 3.38 ERA and 25/6 K/BB in 32.0 innings there a testament to his ability to pound the strike zone and keep runs off the board of late.
Of course, the of late mention is important, as Bass previously flamed out of MLB altogether and spent a season in Japan pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters. It’s worth pointing out that since he returned to MLB/MiLB play after that stint in Japan in 2016, he completely abandoned his change-up and has pitched exclusively with his fastball and slider. He also pitched exclusively as a reliever in his solid 2018 season - he started in 101 of his 180 MiLB games in his career overall - and, as a result, the 94.1 mph he averaged on his fastball in big league action was the best mark of his career.
In other words, he might well be a late bloomer who finally figured out where his stuff worked best and which pitch mix suited his arm. At least, that’s what the Reds will be hoping to see continue, and they picked him up on a zero-risk MiLB deal.