Just under two and a half years ago, veteran reliever Alfredo Simon was left without a job after being waived by the Baltimore Orioles. Today, Simon was named to the National League All-Star team as a starting pitcher.
Alfredo Simon is a polarizing figure among baseball fans. He was accused and acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges in 2011 in which stuck with him for years. Earlier this year, he was sued for alleged rape, although the accuser refused to press criminal charges. To say he’s had a rollercoaster of emotions since 2011 is an understatement.
Shortly after being waived in 2012, Simon was given a new lease on life when he was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds, who opted to use him sparingly in a mop up role throughout the season. Simon would continue that job throughout 2013, while gaining a more responsibility, and eventually settling into a more important role.
It was the most impressive run of his career, managing a 2.78 ERA over his first two seasons with the Reds.
The Reds have had similar success in recent years in rehabilitating released pitchers, notably Manny Parra and Zach Duke.
When ace pitcher Mat Latos was sidelined with an elbow injury that kept him out of the first two months of 2014, the Reds were seeking a replacement, and nearly landed on former Yankee Brett Marshall. However, Simon’s impressive spring and constant lobbying landed him the starting gig, which would not be a mistake.
Simon has easily been baseball’s most surprising success story, as through the All-Star break he has a major league best 12 wins to go along with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP, both 7th in the NL. Simon was selected to replace teammate Johnny Cueto, who pitched Sunday and wouldn’t be eligible to perform during Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
Simon joins fellow Reds Cueto, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco, and Aroldis Chapman as All-Stars, the first time the Reds have had five players named to the All-Star team in over 20 years. Frazier will also be participating in the Home Run Derby this week.