Reds add reliever Pagán on 2-year deal

December 1st, 2023

CINCINNATI -- Shoring up the bullpen with relievers able to pick up multiple innings was one of the offseason priorities for the Reds. On Friday, before getting to the Winter Meetings, they added one.

Right-handed reliever Emilio Pagán and the Reds agreed to terms on a two-year, $16 million deal that includes an opt out for 2025. It also includes a bonus if he's traded.

"Emilio is a reliable veteran reliever who can give us quality innings at the back end of our bullpen," president of baseball operations Nick Krall said. "We expect him to be an important piece to our bullpen."

Pagán, 32, posted a 2.99 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with 65 strikeouts over 69 1/3 innings with the Twins last season, a return to form after three years with an ERA over 4.40.

Since his debut with the Mariners in 2017, he has a 3.71 ERA with 456 strikeouts and a 1.07 WHIP in 400 MLB innings, pitching for Seattle, Oakland, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Minnesota. His best season came in 2019 with the Rays, when he recorded 20 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 70 innings.

Pagán joins a Reds relief corps that ranked 16th in the Majors with a 4.11 ERA in 2023.

The Reds have been looking to add bullpen depth and multi-inning relievers after the team's relievers were relied on for the second-most innings in the National League and sixth-most in the Majors in 2023. The club has also agreed with right-hander Nick Martinez on a two-year deal, according to a source.

Cincinnati is also down one of its reliable relievers from last year with Buck Farmer hitting free agency. Farmer made 71 relief appearances for the Reds last season, accounting for 75 of those bullpen innings. The club still has Alexis Díaz back at closer with Lucas Sims, Ian Gibault, Fernando Cruz and Tejay Antone among the right-handers, with Sam Moll and Alex Young from the left side.

Pagán has made more than 50 relief appearances five times in his six full MLB seasons (not counting the shortened 2020 season), throwing over 60 innings in each of those campaigns, including 2023. Last season, he also had 14 outings where he went more than one inning.

However, Pagán has also endured some downturns and is susceptible to giving up home runs. During his 2022 season with Minnesota, he allowed 12 homers in 63 innings as he struggled in both the closer and set-up roles.

In '23 for the Twins, most of Pagán's appearances were in lower-leverage situations.

Pagán throws four pitches: a four-seam fastball that averaged just under 96 mph in 2023, a high-80s cutter and splitter and a low-80s curveball.