Turning Tony Santillan into a reliever makes sense



As unpopular as the move may be among some members of the Cincinnati fanbase, turning Tony Santillan from starter to reliever makes sense. The right-hander was chosen as an option for Triple-A Louisville yesterday, and the plan is for Santillan to move from rotation to exit the Cincinnati Reds.

Yesterday, the Reds recalled Ashton Goudeau to take Santillan’s place on the active roster. Sonny Gray is expected to return on Friday, replacing Santillan in the starting rotation. In Triple-A, look for Santillan to try his luck as a reliever before being called up to the big leagues later this season.

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, don’t expect Tony Santillan to stay in the Louisville Triple-A for very long. The most likely scenario is that the Texas native will take the next 10 days to move to the reliever pen and then join the major league club.

The bullpen is the right place for Tony Santillan, at least for the rest of 2021.

Whether this move will become permanent in Tony Santillan’s big-league career remains to be seen, but Reds fans have seen this movie before. Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and Raisel Iglesias all had a chance to start, but the organization eventually shifted those pitchers from starters to relievers.

While some would argue that this hurts the player’s development or is short-sighted, given the state of the Cincinnati reliever box this season, movement is needed. Despite a recent display of strong exits from the Reds’ relief corps, the Cincinnati reliever box still has Major League Baseball’s worst ERA this season.

That number isn’t going to improve much with Ashton Goudeau, Cinel Perez, Jose De Leon and Josh Osich. And with what appears to be a reluctance on the part of owners to make additions via trade, Nick Krall and David Bell appear to be under pressure to upgrade their reliever pen in-house.

Santillan is a perfect candidate to take a place in the Reds’ enclosure. With Gray’s return, Cincinnati will have the double All-Star in a starting rotation with Wade Miley, Tyler Mahle, Vladimir Gutierrez and Luis Castillo. Despite Gutierrez’s struggles last night, he still appears to be the better of the two rookies Cincinnati have used this season.

Tony Santillan could be a force outside the Reds’ pen.

Tony Santillan could fill several roles in the Cincinnati Reds relief pen. Having proven his ability to play multiple innings, Santillan could supplant a struggling starter and give David Bell two or more innings of relief.

The right-hander could eventually switch to a role at the back of the pen, as his fastball / slider combination could be a lethal mix in the seventh, eighth or ninth innings. Without the mindset of having to throw more than 100 pitches, Santillan could see a slight increase in speed, coming out for a single inning with the idea of ​​facing minimum.

There’s also the long-term view which, in my mind, sees Santillan going into the bullpen anyway. Next season, provided we don’t see any trades, the current starting quintet could still wear the Cincinnati Reds uniform. Gray is under contract, while Castillo, Mahle and Gutierrez are all under team control. The Reds could also decide to exercise Miley’s option after this season.

Plus, you might have all heard of a young flamethrower blowing up in the minor leagues by the name of Hunter Greene. It’s a virtual guarantee that Greene will be in the Reds’ rotation next season, and he could find his way into the big leagues this year.

There’s also another former first-round pick, southpaw Nick Lodolo, who is also set to be set to make his major league debut in 2022. And don’t forget Tejay Antone, a starting pitcher who currently plays a succession role in the Reds team this year.

Tony Santillan’s future this season, and possibly the future, appears to be in the Cincinnati Reds relieving pen. While that’s goodbye for now, look for Santillan to join the squad in the coming weeks, but not as a starter.


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