The Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a minor-league contract with former SF Giants southpaw Josh Osich.
According to a report by Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Cincinnati Reds have signed left-handed reliever Josh Osich to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training. Osich spent the first seven years of his professional career in the SF Giants organization.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Osich was an elite arm that had struggled with control and injuries throughout his collegiate career at baseball powerhouse Oregon State. Still, the team was hopeful he could put it all together as a professional. He moved his way through the minors and made his big-league debut in 2015. As a rookie, he made 35 appearances and struck out 27 batters in 28.2 innings of work. Osich finished the season with a 2.20 ERA and had asserted himself as the best left-handed arm in the Giants pen.
Heading into the 2016 season, there was an argument that Osich should be the team’s closer. However, alongside one of the worst bullpens in franchise history, Osich took a massive step back. In 59 different appearances, he only completed 36.1 innings, struck out just 25 batters, and gave out 19 free passes. His 4.71 ERA was far from dominant, but his 6.09 FIP suggested he was performing even worse than his numbers indicated.
Over the next two years, Osich’s downward trend continued. In 66 games, he posted a 6.67 ERA (5.36 FIP) before he was designated for assignment in February of 2019. The White Sox eventually claimed the southpaw and ended up receiving a mediocre full season of middle relief from him. Osich posted a 4.66 ERA over 67.2 innings in relief, struck out 61, and brought his walks down quite a bit (surrendering just 2.5 per nine innings).
Osich would end up on the waiver wire once again last offseason and during the season. In the pandemic shortened season, he ended up making big-league appearances for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. In 17 games, he posted a 6.38 ERA but struck out 24 batters against just 5 walks in 18.1 innings. His inflated ERA was primarily caused by an increase in opposing home runs, but stats like xERA (4.06) and xFIP (3.30) both suggested he was a victim of bad luck.
At one time, Josh Osich looked like a piece of the future in the back of the bullpen for the SF Giants. After failing to replicate his rookie-year success though, he seemed on the fast track out of professional baseball. However, to his credit, he has stuck around the major leagues and will have an opportunity to find his way into the Cincinnati Reds bullpen next season.