After reporting last night that the Cincinnati Reds and right-handed reliever Pedro Strop were close to coming to an agreement on a deal for 2020, Hector Gomez of Z101 in the Dominican Republic is now reporting that the deal is done and it’s been confirmed by Ken Rosenthal. The base deal is for 1-year and $1,825,000. But he could earn nearly twice that if he reaches all of his performance bonuses.

In the 2019 season, as we wrote yesterday, Pedro Strop had the worst year he’s had in a long time. He posted a 4.97 ERA after not having an ERA as high as 3.00 in more than half of a decade. There were some signs that he still had plenty of stuff, and that he could rebound in 2020 – but he will need to make some improvements to reasonably expect his ERA to drop back to where it was. Whether that’s throwing more strikes again, or his home run rate getting back to where it had been in previous seasons – there was a little more going on in 2019 than just some bad luck resulting in a higher ERA.

When it comes to the performance bonuses in the contract, some of those seem more attainable than others. The games pitched bonuses all are within reach – though he’s only reached 75 games once and only 70 games twice. It’s the games finished that seem a bit tougher. While all bullpens are going to be different, Pedro Strop finished a career high 27 games in 2019. That’s a far cry from the 40 that is the lowest number on the games finished bonuses. Reds manager David Bell wanted to use the back end of the bullpen as more of a match up scenario in 2019, but that didn’t quite play out as it seemed he had hoped it would when the year began. 2020 may be different, but unless the plan is to go to a more traditional bullpen role, AND Strop becomes to closer, it’s tough to see those targets being met.

Pedro Strop Projections

The 2020 projection systems are mostly out by now. ZiPS aren’t out yet for the Cubs – which is where Strop would have been listed – but we do have Marcels and Steamer projections for the new Reds right-handed reliever for the 2020 season.

Impact on the bullpen

It feels safe that along with Strop, the Reds will also have Raisel Iglesias, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and Robert Stephenson in the bullpen for 2020. With Major League Baseball officially telling teams that they can only have 13 pitchers on the roster, it’s a safe bet that the Reds will use all of those spots. Accounting for the starters, and the above named relievers, that’s 10 spots taken up. That leaves just three spots available in the bullpen. Pitchers Cody Reed, Sal Romano, and Lucas Sims are all out of options. Those three will be facing plenty of competition for those final three spots in the bullpen – assuming everyone makes it through the spring healthy.

Guys with big league experience, and even some success are on the 40-man roster for the Reds. Matt Bowman, Jose De Leon, Joel Kuhnel, Justin Shafer, and Josh Smith fall into that group. But beyond them you’ve got arms from the minors looking to grab a spot with Tejay Antone and Ryan Hendrix. And then there’s the big question of how the team will use Tyler Mahle. Is he a potential reliever early in the year, or does he head back to Triple-A as starting pitcher depth just in case something happens early in the season and Cincinnati needs a quality starter to come up? Lots of questions on who gets the spots. And there are a whole lot of ways it could play out.

Photo of Pedro Strop by Keith Allison and was edited. The license can be found here.