The Reds announced Monday that they’ve re-signed right-handed reliever Derek Law to a minor league contract and invited him to big league camp this spring. Cincinnati non-tendered him back in November.
Law spent the final two months of the 2022 season with the Reds organization after spending much of the year with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, where he’d pitched to a 3.23 ERA in 39 innings. The 32-year-old righty pitched to a 4.08 ERA with a 19% strikeout rate, 8.9% walk rate and 49.1% ground-ball rate in 17 2/3 innings for Cincinnati after being selected to the big league roster in August.
This past season was the sixth in which Law, a ninth-round pick by the Giants back in 2011, has spent time in the Majors. He debuted with a sensational 2.13 ERA, 23.4% strikeout rate, 4.2% walk rate and 50.3% grounder rate in 55 innings with the 2016 Giants, though he’s yet to replicate that standout performance in any of his subsequent MLB efforts. In 201 innings as a big leaguer, Law carries a 4.21 ERA with strikeout and walk rates that are a bit worse than league-average (21.9% and 9.8%, respectively).
Law’s 2022 season had at least one substantial change from his prior work, as he leaned on a newly implemented cutter as his primary pitch. Nearly half of Law’s pitches were cutters despite the fact that he’d never thrown the pitch during a Major League outing before the 2022 season. He’ll continue to hone that new offering in his return to the Reds, hoping to parlay that into another opportunity in the Cincinnati ’pen.
The Reds should have ample opportunity for Law and other non-roster invitees this spring. Alexis Diaz is locked in as the team’s closer, with righties Lucas Sims, Tejay Antone, Tony Santillan and Buck Farmer and lefty Reiver Sanmartin among the options behind him. However, both Santillan and Sanmartin posted ugly numbers on the season. Antone missed the entire 2022 campaign following Tommy John surgery, while Sims was limited to just 6 2/3 innings due to a back injury. Law will join names like Alex Young, Tayron Guerrero, Silvino Bracho and Alan Busenitz as non-roster invitees hoping to force their way into the big league bullpen picture.