The Cincinnati Reds are bringing back a familiar name today, signing left-handed reliever Justin Wilson to a big league deal according to Robert Murray of Fansided. The club has an open spot on the 40-man roster, so there doesn’t need to be a corresponding move to clear a spot for him.

Wilson pitched for the Reds in 2021 and 2022, throwing 19.2 innings and posting a 2.75 ERA in that time. In 2022 he would miss much of the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He signed with Milwaukee following that season and pitched in 10 games while rehabbing in their farm system, but he suffered a lat injury while warming up for his season debut in late July and went on the injured list and didn’t pitch again.

This spring he signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and threw in four games, allowing two runs in 4.0 innings, walking two batters, and striking out nine batters. He had an opt-out clause in his contract and on March 12th he took that option and became a free agent. Now he’s back with the Reds on a big league deal.

The 36-year-old has pitched in parts of 11 big league seasons. In his 527 games as a Major League Baseball reliever he’s posted a 3.41 ERA in 467.0 innings while walking 210 batters and striking out 510. As you would guess, he’s been good against left-handed hitters in his career. They’ve hit just .241/.324/.349 against him. But he’s pitched better against righties, holding them to a .216/.308/.333 line in nearly twice as many matchups.

You can see his career stats here.

Alex Young to the injured list

In a perhaps related move, manager David Bell told reporters this afternoon that lefty reliever Alex Young had a setback with his back injury and that he would miss opening day. Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Young received an injection to aid in his recovery.

37 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    Savvy move, Mr Krall. Wilson looked good against the Reds the other night.


    Hope this doesn’t mean Moll could be out longer as well.

    • Optimist

      Alas, the pitching injury list begins. The good news, no starters, the blah news, Moll and Young. Moll is more important, but the status of both seems unclear. Nagging could become weeks or months, but so far not yet.

      Still, Suter and Wilson are getting on the older side, but aside from a closer, the bullpen is a continual work in progress.

  3. LDS

    Tempering our expectations of this season is starting to seem appropriate. The dumpster is beginning to smell.

    • greenmtred

      We can always count on you, LDS.

      • LDS

        So you’re in favor of 36 yo pitchers coming off arm surgery?

      • greenmtred

        If they pitch well, I’m certainly in favor of them. It sounds like a stop-gap signing due to a jury to Young, so I wouldn’t be doing any hand-wringing about it if he were 40. I try to avoid hand-wringing about baseball in any case: It’s for fun.

      • Justin T

        Every signing is a stop-gap signing with this team. How wide is the gap for goodness sakes.

      • DaveCT

        Wilson is two years off arm surgery. So, in the world of TJ surgery, right on schedule to regain performance.

        Regardless, this is an opportunistic move. It is not a strategic move. Low cost and, again, he looked quite good the other night.

      • DaveCT

        Justin T, that’s not really true.

        Candelario was a strategic move, not a stop gap. It was designed to create depth as well as support the club’s approach, that being positional flexibility and biggest bang for the buck, for the next two or more years. The same is true of Martinez and Montas. Hunter Green certainly isn’t a stop gap, nor is India’s 2 years. Letting Votto depart is strategic, not stop gap.

        Stop gaps are the Tommy Pham snd Brandon Drury signings, where there is a pretty solid likelihood of a trade deadline move unloading them.

        Doesn’t mean we all agree on the strategy. But you have to admit there has been plenty more than temporary stop gaps.

    • mac624

      I really wish this site had like and dislike buttons for posts as well as ways to ignore certain posters. But I assume those types of platforms are pretty pricey..

      • LDS

        Or simply ignore posters with whom you disagree. Social media isn’t a place to pursue confirmation bias.

      • Jason Franklin

        I agree. I find it better to try to understand viewpoints different from my own and try to see what the other person is trying to say. They may not be right (to you), but why not try to see others’ views? You may learn something (or not).

      • TR

        Something I used to hear as a kid, learn to really listen. It’s helped a lot over the years.

      • Doug Gray

        I could turn on like/dislike, but I think that’s actually a terrible thing to have.

    • Fountain city red

      He’s got a career 3.41 era. If they signed him for close to league minimum what is the loss? Why is it always negative? Yes he has been hurt the last couple years, if he’s anywhere close to what he was this could be a solid signing. If not, cut him and what’s the loss?

    • Jimbo44CN

      Ah the voice of doom. Always a pleasure.

    • DaveCT

      Silver King Salmon is an amazing fish.

      • Oldtimer

        My biggest King (Chinook) Salmon was estimated 30 pounder off Milwaukee in mid 1980s.

      • DaveCT

        My son fishes for Coho every summer, way up in Bristol Bay, Alaska, northwest of Kodiak island. He sees Brown Bear all the time. His captain lives here in Friday Harbor, WA. Pretty great guy.

        Gotta do it when you can!

        By the way, 33 year union man here, AFSCME. We hid from Longshoremen (my brother was one). But we did a great job with the families and kids we served,

    • MK

      I’m sure every silver king has a cloud too.

  4. DataDumpster

    Days ago when the Reds exposed Jose Barrero to waivers for no apparent reason except maybe to have an open roster spot, I opined that perhaps there is a Part B upcoming on this move. Hopefully, this is not it. Of course, you can’t open with 0 bullpen southpaws.
    Meanwhile, Barrero doubles and throws out a runner at home from Right Field in his first appearance with the Rangers. He had only played the position once before in the Dominican leagues.

    • MK

      He played right field the other day for the Reds.

    • DataDumpster

      “Of real note, it was only the second time Barrero had played right field as a pro. His previous “experience” consisted of two innings in one game for Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League.”

      Dallas Morning News

      You would think that they would know…

    • DaveCT

      Barrero had been playing OF, in general, for at least two years. RF is new. I hope he goes off in Texas. I think he might. I love that kid. He’s east to root for. And, still, he was the 25th or 26th guy here. And probably there, too. But it’s new.

      • MK

        He might be on waivers again soon if he doesn’t make the Rangers 26-man, as he is out of options.

  5. Stock

    No downside to acquiring Wilson. If he stinks release him at the end of the month. If he is good we just improved the team ever so slightly.

  6. MK

    Is Luke Maile slowly beating out Tyler Stephenson for the #1 Catchers spot? He is certainly outhitting him this spring and Tyler has just not seemed right since his broken bone.

  7. Stock

    Why should the Reds temper expectations?

    Milwaukee traded their best SP and their best RP is now injuried and won’t return until June or July. The Brewers should temper expectations.

    St. Louis has one good SP and he tweaked his hammy. He is injury prone and this could be just the beginning. Nootbar broke his ribs. They should temper expectations because of injuries to two key players and no quality SP behind Gray.

    The Reds lost their starting 3B but luckily the Reds are prepared and have a replacement on their roster who is not much of a drop off if any. Young is hurt but he was projected to start in Louisville so not a reason to reduce expectations. Moll is a larger problem but again the Reds were prepared and signed Suter. Again the drop off from Suter to Moll is minimal if any. The drop-off from Moll to Antone and/or Cruz is minimal.

    From where I sit it is the Cubs and the Reds. Injuries may determine the division winner but so may depth. I bet on the Reds depth winning the day.

    As LDS said earlier the moves the Reds made this winter did little to raise their ceiling. But they sure did provide depth. The raised ceiling will come if Lodolo and Greene can pitch 300+ innings between them.

  8. Ptaylor2112

    I wonder if his contract is “I gar-on-teed.”

  9. JayTheRed

    If we get the Justin Wilson, we had while he played last time in a Reds uniform, I am perfectly fine with this move. Especially if Young is having back issues.

    I’m good with the pickup. Anyone know how much they are paying him?

  10. H.B.

    I wrote in last week to say it’s good to have an open spot on the 40 man because you may need to pick someone up. Barrara has not played well enough to impress the Reds manager or front office. I trust in Nick more than I do infatuation with Barraro.