Doolittle, a 34-year-old left-hander, had the worst statistical season of his career in 2020, posting an ERA of 5.87 over 11 appearances with six rashes and four walks in 7 innings. He was injured twice, once with right knee fatigue and then with right-sided strain at the end of the season, and his speed had dropped significantly by the beginning of the year.
But the two-time all-star offers a veteran presence to a Reds bullpen lacking in experience. Doolittle helped the Nationals to their World Series title in 2019 and made nine appearances in the postseason. It recorded more than 20 parades from 2017-19 in Washington and 2014 in Oakland.
When the Reds looked for ways to cut their payroll for the coming season, they traded Raisel Iglesias closer to the Los Angeles Angels, releasing setup man Archie Bradley. Both players were in the final year of their contracts. Bradley co-signed a one-year contract for $ 6 million the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Reds have not given a name for the coming season. Lefty Amir Garrett has been vocal about how much he wants to play the turnkey role, and right-handed Lucas Sims is another top contender after his 2020 breakout season. Doolittle had no saves last season.
Garrett and Cionel Pérez are the only left-handers on the 40-man roster. So if Garrett was actually put in the closer role, the Reds needed another left-handed option for left-heavy parts of the line-up. Doolittle was solid against left-handers in 2019, scoring 23 strikes in 80 record appearances and keeping them at a base percentage of .241.
Doolittle, who was an All-Star in 2014 and 2018, is only the second Major League free agent to be signed by the Reds this winter. The Reds signed right-hander Édgar García to a big league deal worth $ 600,000 in December.