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Fay: Reds Question 3: Who closes? Storen, Iglesias, Cingrani?

Price: 'I have the ability to mix and match'
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Posted at 9:00 AM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 13:14:10-05

This is the third in a series of nine questions about the Reds as they head toward spring training.

CINCINNATI -- The Reds' plan is to go with closer-by-committee. It might be Raisel Iglesias one night, Drew Storen the next and Tony Cingrani the next.

That's the theory.

But will it be reality?

Managers tend to go with the reliever who is getting the job done most consistently, and all relievers want to be the ninth-inning guy.

Storen, a 29-year-old right-hander, has the most experience as a closer. He has 98 career saves. He had 43 in 2011 and 29 in '15.

He was the Reds' biggest offseason acquisition.

And he, of course, wants to close.

"If you're in the bullpen and you don't want to close, you have no business being down there," Storen said "So many things change from spring training to Opening Day. I'm not getting paid to make those decisions. I'm getting paid to get people out. If I do that, everything will take care of itself."

The Reds made it clear that spring training will determine roles. Bryan Price says he'll do what he did for the last two months of the season: Use the backend bullpen guys in multiple-inning situations.

But even last year, Price gravitated toward Iglesias as the season came to a close. Iglesias was basically the closer for the last month and a half, taking over for Cingrani.

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 6: Raisel Iglesias #26 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Great American Ball Park on September 6, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. New York defeated Cincinnati 5-3. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Iglesias, the 27-year-old Cuban right-hander, is an interesting case. He has four quality pitches -- fastball, slider, curves and changeup -- and his velocity rose when the Reds moved him from the starting rotation to the bullpen. He touched 98 at times and averaged 94 mph, up from 92.1 in 2015.

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 04: Tony Cingrani #52 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on August 4, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Cardinals 7-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Cingrani, 27, is the only left-hander in the mix. He led the Reds with 17 saves last year. He's always been hard to hit. But he struggles with control. He had 37 walks and 43 strikeouts in 63 innings.

Michael Lorenzen, the 25-year-old right-hander, could be in the mix to close as well. He has the best pure velocity of the backend relievers, averaging 96 mph and touching 100.

Again, Price is going in flexible. 

 "I have the ability to mix and match," Price said. "If it's running Lorenzen out there for the seventh and eighth and Storen's our freshest guy and he's throwing the ball great, maybe he's the guy for the ninth. It sets us up to have Iglesias two or two-plus the next day, which is a nice option."

Question 6: With Homer Bailey out, who joins the rotation?
Question 5: Is Scott Schebler right for right field?
Question 4: Will we see first-half Votto or second-half Votto?
Question 2: What should fans expect from Homer Bailey?
Question 1: Where does Price play top prospect Jose Peraza?