On Tuesday morning we heard Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall tell MLB Network Radio that the organization was looking for some help in the bullpen after trading away Raisel Iglesias and non-tendering Archie Bradley. The disconnect of that statement aside, it didn’t take much time to pass from Krall’s statement on MLB Network Radio to The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that the Reds were showing interest in reliever Ryne Stanek, who is a free agent after being non-tendered by the Miami Marlins two weeks ago.

In 2020 things went about as well for Ryne Stanek as they did for most of us – not well. The 29-year-old right-handed reliever only pitched in nine games for the Marlins and that covered just 10.0 innings where he allowed eight earned runs (7.20 ERA) on 11 hits and eight walks while picking up 11 strikeouts. That came on top of a rough second half in 2019 with Miami where he posted a 5.48 ERA in 21.1 innings that included 19 walks and 28 strikeouts.

In his time with the Marlins in 2019 and 2020, Ryne Stanek struggled with his control as he walked 27 batters in 31.1 innings. But in 2018 and 2019 with Tampa Bay he didn’t really show any control concerns as he threw 122.0 innings with 47 walks and 142 strikeouts. That stretch with the Rays also included a 3.17 ERA. While he did start at times for Tampa Bay in that time, he served as an opener, never throwing more than 2.0 innings in a given outing.

Ryne Stanek was pretty good with the Rays, and he was, not that, with the Marlins. That could be something worth looking deeper into. On Monday, manager David Bell noted this: “we really believe in the formula that we have in place to have a successful bullpen and even though the personnel may be a little bit different, we’re very confident moving forward.”

Taking a quick look at the data available to us, could this be another situation like the Sonny Gray deal where a new team changed up what a pitcher was throwing and it resulted in worse results? In 2018 and 2019 with Tampa Bay Ryne Stanek threw his 4-seam fastball 59% of the time. With the Marlins in 2019 and 2020 that rate dropped to 49%. With the Rays his slider usage was at 24% and with Miami it jumped to 30%. The splitter rate also went up with Miami, going from 15% with Tampa Bay to 21% with the Marlins.

Of course there could be more going on than just a change in pitch usage. Every season that Ryne Stanek has been in the Major Leagues his velocity has dropped. In 2017 he averaged 98.5 MPH. The next year the drop was small, but it went to 98.4. In 2019 that was 97.8. This past season, in a very small sample size, it was 96.2. The drop from 2017 through 2019 isn’t much to worry about. The drop in 2020 was big, though. Of course, that could be a sample size thing. Maybe it’s just a pandemic related issue where given how the spring was truncated and then a rush back to play led to some decreased velocity in a small sample.

While the organization has lost out on Caleb Cotham, who joined the Philadelphia Phillies as their pitching coach earlier this winter, they’ll still have pitching coach Derek Johnson, Kyle Boddy as the Director of Pitching, and Eric Jagers as assistant pitching coach in the fold. With what Johnson has been able to do in helping turn around the Reds pitching staff over the last two seasons, the background for both Boddy and Jagers – there’s plenty of reason to have faith in that group to get the most out of the players. Stanek’s got a history that suggests he can be pretty good out of the bullpen, but there’s probably some adjustments that need to be made to get him back to that point.

16 Responses

  1. Bred

    I wonder how much in put Johnson and Boddy have in pitching related moves. I trust their decisions as they have a proven track record. I am concerned that both of them will have wandering eyes if the Reds don’t at least contend for Central title.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    What’s Scott Feldman up to? Jumbo Diaz? Anyone scooped up Burke Badenhop, Kevin Gregg or Jason Marquis?
    Still need some bench help Jack Hannahan still around? What about Skip Schumaker, he’s got some grit.

    • Doug Gray

      Jumbo Diaz is dominating in the Dominican Winter League. 1.38 ERA through 13 appearances with 14 strikeouts and 3 walks (1 intentional) in 13.0 innings.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Well sign him up! If you can dominate the Dominican you can certainly pitch for the Reds!

  3. Jimbo44CN

    “Reds need help in bullpen after trading Iglaseis and non tendering Bradley” Uh, duhhhh. Brilliant I say, just brilliant!!!

  4. LDS

    Any former high school or college players on this blog? Looking to play in the majors? The Reds may be your ticket to the show. Give Bell or Krall a call. As long as you’ll work for the league minimum, you should be in there.

  5. Gonzo Reds

    Welcome to the Reds Circus. Bring in the clowns!

  6. Linkster

    Minor league offer with invite to spring training at best.

  7. Sliotar

    Yes, good post.

    When Doug wrote the post on 12/3 – “Do any of the non-tenders make sense for the Reds” … I suggested Justin Anderson and Ryne Stanek. You have a bunch more.

    Bullpen guys are mostly commodities. Use them for a couple of seasons, get rid of them before they hurt/cost too much, move on to next ones. Or rehab a cheap guy.

    The 2016 trade of Aroldis Chapman to Cubs for young Gleyber Torres was an outlier then because of Cubs’ title drought … no team would make that type of trade this winter.

    • Jimbo44CN

      But I just have to disagree. Looking at this years stats, Iglesias was number 6 in the NL in saves with 8, very close to the top in innings pitched and a better ERA than Hader, Jansen, Melancon and Hudson, 4 of the 6 ahead of him in saves. He had a 4-3 record and gave up one home run. Also, number 8 on the list of saves in the NL was Mr. Bradley, with 6, and that was mostly with the Diamondbacks. As we know Bell didnt use him much. Convince me that giving up these two is going to make up for retreads and wanna bes, I dont care who the pitching coach is. This is just cost cutting, period.

  8. IndyRedsFan

    On a more optimistic note………

    Sometime last off-season, Boddy was quoted as saying something to the effect, “we believe there are pitchers out there that no one has heard of, but have the kinds of attributes that we can work with and make very successful major leaguers out of”
    (couldn’t find the actual quote, so this is my poor paraphrase)

    At any rate, when Bell says “we believe in the formula we have in place….”, this quote comes to mind.

    Perhaps they do believe they can tweak a few things with pitchers which have the attributes they like, and make them successful.

    Perhaps Antone is an example.

    It’s December, time for optimism!

  9. Grand Salami

    It certainly seems so. This off-season isn’t just slow. The little bit of news that is generated seems to indicate the Reds are bottom feeding for sunken treasure.

  10. c w Lackey

    Every off-season The Reds Organization try to let go in one fashion or another good players and rarely anything of great value in return. REDS PLEASE DO NOT TRADE SONNY GRAY UNLESS YOU GET KNOCK DOWN OF TOP PLAYERS, TOP, NOT RUN OF THE MILL PLAYERS. SURE BE GREAT TO SEE REDS WIN, WIN AND KEEP WINNING.
    2021. GO REDS GO

  11. TR

    It’s apparently still too early for the fans to have a glimpse of the Red’s plan for the 2021 season.

    • JayTheRed

      Wow almost everything that scene said reminds me so much of this team it’s scary.