The Cincinnati Reds made significant moves during a busy Wednesday, strengthening their pitching staff in hopes of dominating the National League Central next season. One of their notable acquisitions is right-hander Nick Martinez, who agreed to a two-year, $26 million contract with an opt-out option after the first season. Additionally, the Reds also signed Emilio Pagan, a hard-throwing right-hander, to a one-year, $8 million deal with a player option for 2025. These signings come after the Reds’ impressive performance in the NL, narrowly missing a wild-card spot with an 82-80 record.
Nick Martinez, a 33-year-old right-hander, brings versatility to the Reds’ pitching staff. After pitching 54 games out of the bullpen, Martinez transitioned to the starting rotation for nine games, where he excelled with a remarkable 2.32 ERA in 42⅔ innings. The Padres had declined their club option on Martinez, leading him to opt out of his contract. His new deal with the Reds includes a $14 million salary for 2024 and a $12 million salary for 2025, offering him the opportunity to explore free agency if he opts in. Martinez’s presence will undoubtedly strengthen the Reds’ rotation and add depth to their pitching staff.
Emilio Pagan’s signing provides a significant boost to the Reds’ bullpen. With a one-year, $8 million contract and a player option for 2025, Pagan brings his hard-throwing abilities and vast experience to the team. Joining the likes of closer Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, Ian Gibaut, and Sam Moll, all of whom posted impressive ERAs in the low 3s, Pagan will reinforce the bullpen’s effectiveness. The Reds prioritize fortifying their pitching staff, and Pagan’s addition aligns with this goal.
The Reds’ pursuit of a stronger pitching staff complements their array of young talents in the infield. Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, all 23 years old or younger, showcased their potential throughout the season. Additionally, utilityman Spencer Steer (25), right fielder Will Benson (25), second baseman Jonathan India (26), catcher Tyler Stephenson (27), and center fielder TJ Friedl (28) contribute to the dynamic core of the team. The combination of a promising young infield and reinforced pitching staff sets the stage for the Reds to make a significant impact in the NL Central.
After four years in the MLB with the Texas Rangers, Nick Martinez ventured to Japan for four seasons. His time in Japan proved to be instrumental in his development as a pitcher. In 2021, Martinez thrived and achieved an outstanding 1.60 ERA in 140⅔ innings. Returning to the United States with enhanced fastball velocity and an elite Vulcan-grip changeup, Martinez signed with the Padres. However, he opted out of his contract after one season, eventually finding a new home with the Reds. Martinez’s experience in Japan has undoubtedly contributed to his growth as a pitcher, and the Reds anticipate him bringing that success to their team.
The Cincinnati Reds have made significant strides in their quest to dominate the NL Central. By bolstering their pitching staff with talented acquisitions like Nick Martinez and Emilio Pagan, the Reds have addressed their needs and fortified their roster. With a young and promising core already in place, the Reds are primed to make a compelling push for a wild-card spot and potentially contend for the NL Central crown next season. The additions of Martinez and Pagan signal the Reds’ commitment to excellence and the pursuit of success in the upcoming MLB season.