Deal keeps Reds, Iglesias together through '21

Closer's new contract adds extra year, avoids arbitration

November 21st, 2018

CINCINNATI -- In a move that avoided arbitration, the Reds signed closer on Wednesday to a new three-year, $24.1 million contract through the 2021 season. Iglesias had an option to go to arbitration in the seven-year, $32 million contract he signed when he arrived from Cuba in 2014.

By reaching a deal now, the Reds and Iglesias don't have to delve into the uncertainty of arbitration and the club has a fixed salary locked in for the next three years. Had Iglesias not signed the contract or opted for arbitration, he would have made $5.7 million per season in 2019-20 and was eligible again for arbitration in '21.

Reds general manager Nick Krall and Iglesias' agent, Barry Praver, negotiated the new deal.

"We called Barry and felt there was a mutual want to get this done, so we talked about it; it progressed pretty quickly and ended up getting it done in a couple of weeks," Krall said. "We look at it, from our standpoint, of where he was and what made sense for both parties, and both of us were pretty quickly in agreement."

Over 66 games in 2018, the 28-year-old Iglesias went 2-5 with a 2.38 ERA and 30 saves out of 34 chances.

Since making his big league debut, Iglesias has a 2.97 career ERA over 184 games, including 21 starts.

"This is a great opportunity," Iglesias said in a statement. "I thank the Reds for trusting me and believing in me. Cincinnati is my second home, and I wanted to take this step."

In an interesting twist, president of baseball operations Dick Williams noted that new manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson could utilize Iglesias in a variety of ways in 2019 -- and not just as Cincinnati's closer.

"David and Derek will spend time with Raisel over the winter," Williams said. "This is a guy who loves to pitch. He loves to appear frequently. He loves to appear in multiple innings if possible. He enjoys the back of the game. But he enjoyed starting. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with. The more we see an elite arm like this, the better off we are as a team."

At his previous job as the Brewers' pitching coach, Johnson and manager Craig Counsell often used All-Star lefty in a variety of high-leverage situations regardless of the inning.

That means Iglesias may not be restricted to end-of-game or one-inning usage. The right-hander has 24 career saves of more than one inning, including 10 in 2018, and 10 career saves where he pitched two innings. His longest save last season was 1 2/3 innings against the Cubs on July 6.

"If the situation calls for it and he's closing a bunch of games we're winning, I'm happy, too," Williams said. "We all would be happy with that. This gives us the flexibility, and David and Derek are of the mind they want the flexibility to be able to use [him] whenever the situation calls for it."