SP,RP - FA
The Reds wouldn't confirm that J.J. Hoover is the team's closer moving forward after he once again struggled on Tuesday.
Hoover narrowly escaped with the save Tuesday, allowing two runs in 2/3 of an inning. He's now allowed nine earned runs in 5 1/3 innings to start the season. The team doesn't have a clear replacement option for Hoover, so they would likely take a closer by committee approach if he's removed from the role.
Hoover had a blown save in his one opportunity this year when he allowed an 8th inning grand slam to Starling Marte. Only one run was attributed to him, and the Reds lost 6-5.
The biggest downside to Hoover this year was thought to be the Reds' struggles and his lack of save opportunities. Well, the Reds are off to a 6-2 start, but Hoover has only had one true save opportunity, albeit being put in a bases loaded jam in the 8th inning. If the Reds continue to have success, Hoover could be in line for many more save chances in better positions.
Following the offseason trade of Aroldis Chapman, Hoover will take over the Reds' closer role.
Hoover posted a 2.94 ERA last season and will look to build on that success in the closer role this year. With more pressure on his shoulders, and a Reds team not projected to be very good, expectations are not particularly high for Hoover, especially since he's no lock to keep the job throughout the year.
While the rest of the bullpen competition is "wide open," the team's closer role is J.J. Hoover's to lose, according to manager Bryan Price. Hoover provided a 2.94 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 64 1/3 innings last season.
With the trade of Aroldis Chapman, Hoover is the next man up in the team's bullpen. The Reds don't project to be a great team in 2016, which will limit the upside Hoover, or whoever winds up as the Reds' closer, carries in terms of saves. The ballpark also favors hitters, so there are certainly safer options for saves entering the season.