Cincinnati Reds Manager Surprisingly Names Closer

The Cincinnati Reds have been notoriously reluctant to name a closer in recent years (perhaps mainly because they didn't have anyone capable of holding down the job). 

But this year, in a surprising comment, manager David Bell actually named—albeit still reluctantly—his closer for 2023. And really, no shock, it's Alexis Diaz, the younger brother of famed closer Edwin Diaz of the New York Mets. 

I guess the only reason I’m hesitant to say that — and I’m not, he’s going into the season as our closer — there are times where it’s an important game and he’s fully available, we might use him earlier than that. He’s been that good. But again, just keeping in mind, he’s still learning, he’s still improving. He’s in great shape. He came into camp, he had a great offseason. We just know there’s ways he can get even better.

Make no mistake, the younger Diaz is pretty good already. The 26-year-old was utterly dominating in his rookie season in 2022, posting a 1.84 ERA, with an 0.95 WHIP. He surrendered a meager 28 hits in 63.2 innings. Yes, opponents were only able to hit a ridiculous .131 off him, and OPS'd just .476. 

He struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings, but he also walked 4.7 per nine, and therein lies the "ways he can get even better" that Bell talked about.

Diaz saved 10 games last year for the Reds; that number should soar in 2023. 

Photo: Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK