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Raisel Iglesias: ‘The way [the Reds] are using me is horribly wrong’

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Reds closer Raisel Iglesias has had a frustrating year. After serving up a tie-breaking two-run home run to Brandon Crawford in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Giants, Iglesias owns a 4.86 ERA with two blown saves and five losses.

While Iglesias admits he hasn’t pitched well, he also blames the way the Reds have been using him as a contributing factor for his struggles. Per Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Iglesias said, “You can see the other closers, they don’t pitch in tie games. I’m the only one who comes in tie games and I’ve given up homers and I’m losing some games. I feel really bad.”

Iglesias added, “The way they are using me is horribly wrong.” He elaborated, saying, “The closer comes in to finish the ballgames. I’ve been coming into tie games on the road. I get it. There are situations that the team needs me.”

As Nightengale points out, Iglesias indeed has disparate results in save situations versus non-save situations. He has a 3.86 ERA with 15 strikeouts and five walks in 9 1/3 innings coming in save situations. In 7 1/3 innings in non-save situations, Iglesias holds a 6.14 ERA with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

While it is true that those are small samples, Iglesias is a full run better in save situations over his career as well, with 110 1/3 innings coming in save situations (2.12 ERA) and 107 1/3 innings in non-save situations (3.10 ERA). Perhaps the implied stress of a save situation motivates Iglesias or helps him concentrate better.

That being said, laying the blame on manager David Bell feels like a cop-out. Managers refusing to use their closers in non-save situations is an old-school belief and has mostly been eradicated in today’s game. Other relievers have figured out how to perform just as well in non-save situations. If they can, so too can Iglesias.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.