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Sean Doolittle, Reds Reportedly Agree to 1-Year $1.5M Contract in Free Agency

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2021

Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle follows through on a pitch to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the ninth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Washington. The Nationals won 2-1. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

The Cincinnati Reds added a key player to their bullpen by agreeing to a one-year contract with Sean Doolittle on Tuesday, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.  

Morosi added the contract is worth $1.5 million and has performance bonuses.

Doolittle struggled during the shortened 2020 season but has been a formidable performer for much of his career. In October, he wrote a message to Washington Nationals fans thanking them for their support during the ups and downs of his tenure with the National League East team.

Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle @whatwouldDOOdo

Dear Nats fans, https://t.co/1m68lhj29n

He finished the 2020 campaign with a 5.87 ERA, 1.70 WHIP and six strikeouts in 7.2 innings.

It was a far cry from the rest of a career that includes two All-Star appearances (2014 and 2018) and the 2019 World Series crown. He finished the 2019 postseason with a sparkling 1.74 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and eight strikeouts in 10.1 innings, which was an impressive bounce-back effort from the regular season.

That 2019 season (4.05) was the first one he finished with an ERA worse than 3.95 since he entered the league in 2012, and he posted a 1.60 ERA, 0.60 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 45 innings for Washington in 2018. He was also traded from the Oakland Athletics to the Nationals during the 2017 campaign and finished with a 2.81 ERA while making three scoreless appearances in the playoffs.

That Doolittle is playoff-tested with 20 postseason games on his resume makes him all the more valuable for his new team.

While his last two regular seasons weren't great, he is a proven player and can be a veteran leader in the clubhouse.

Shortening postseason contests with lockdown bullpens is a surefire path to the title, and the University of Virginia product is someone who can help the Reds do just that following this move. Cincinnati needed to strengthen the back end of its bullpen after trading Raisel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels in December.

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