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Cincinnati Reds, Amir Garrett avoid arbitration with 1-year, $1.5 million deal

The lefty has eyes on the closer’s role in 2021.

Cincinnati Reds v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds and Amir Garrett have avoided an arbitration hearing this winter, as it appears the two have come to an agreement on a $1.5 million contract for the 2021 season. The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale had the news, which only leaked out some time after the official deadline for teams and players to find common ground.

Garrett, who is in his initial trip through the arbitration process, landed a deal in excess of the projection by MLB Trade Rumors, which had him slated for a range between $900K and $1.4 million.

Since moving to the bullpen full-time, the former St. John’s basketball player and Top 100 overall prospect has mostly flourished for the Reds. He’s the owner of a 3.03 ERA, 156 ERA+, and 12.6 K/9 since the start of the 2019 season, and it’s that kind of dominance that has him very much in the mix to claim the team’s closer role in the wake of Raisel Iglesias heading to Los Angeles.

The ‘closer’ role is one that obviously is a bit inflated in terms of importance to the actual recording of 27 outs in a game, as simply picking up 25-27 discounts recording outs in potentially higher-leverage situations earlier on. That said, the arbitration process - which is more or less a financial reward system that uses plenty of stats that many of us find a bit out of date - still uses ‘saves’ as a key component of their model, so while ‘saves’ and ‘closer’ might not mean as much to analytic-minded fans, they do on the bottom line of player salaries. So, it’s zero surprise that pitchers with the stuff and guile to claim that role would want it, as it obviously still carries prestige.

Hopefully, that’s where Amir lands, and this benchmark arb-1 salary continues to grow for him the next two winters as a result.

Garrett’s signing means that as of 2:45 ET, Luis Castillo is the lone remaining unsigned arb-eligible player on the Reds roster.