MLB Rumors: Cardinals secret weapon, Blake Snell surprise, Reds move

  • Reds sign RHP Emilio Pagán to two-year contract
  • Blake Snell harbors strong desire to play for hometown team
  • Cardinals' secret recruitment weapon is Lars Nootbaar

Lars Nootbaar, St. Louis Cardinals
Lars Nootbaar, St. Louis Cardinals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Reds sign RHP Emilio Pagán to two-year contract

The Cincinnati Reds' offseason priorities are largely centered on the pitching staff, with a particular focus on the bullpen. On Wednesday, the team moved to sign RHP Emilio Pagán to a two-year, $16 million contract. The deal includes a player option for 2025 and performance bonuses. It is currently pending a Thursday physical.

Pagán spent his last two seasons with the Minnesota Twins. In 2023, he posted a 2.99 ERA and 0.952 WHIP with 65 strikeouts in 69.1 innings pitched.

Cincinnati relied on its bullpen the second-most of any National League team last season. Pagán experienced something of a resurgence in 2023 after posting an ERA over 4.00 in four of the previous five seasons. He does the majority of his damage with a potent 95.8 MPH fastball, mixed with a cutter, a changeup, and a rare curveball.

It's a serious investment for the Reds, who are investing $8 million per season in a 32-year-old reliever with a spotty track record. The obvious hope is that Pagán can sustain last season's success and anchor the middle innings for Cincinnati. He appeared in 66 games for Minnesota in 2023, allowing the fewest hits (5.8) and home runs (0.6) per nine innings of his career.