Who closes now that Aroldis Chapman is in New York?
The likely closer would be J.J. Hoover, who has five career saves, three career sub-3.00 ERA seasons in four years and a career 9.1 K/9 that will serve him well in ninth as it has in the seventh and eighth innings. Beginning his age-28 season, former closers such as Brad Lidge, Jason Isringhausen and even Mariano Rivera didn’t begin closing until age-27, so Hoover might not be as irrelevant as you think.
Cingrani, a former starter who looked nearly unhittable in 104.2 innings in 2013 before already shaky control issues progressively weakened in the following two seasons, could fit well in a closing role. However, his stuff, a devastating FB/CH combo might not necessarily be the ideal fit for a closer, though Cingrani remains tough to hit especially in his first time through the order.
Diaz, an imposing 6-foot-4 280-pound reliever who features an upper-90’s fastball, has a career 10.1 K/9 and a 3.88 ERA across 95.0 innings and would profile well as a power closer if he finds consistency.
Stephenson, maybe the team’s top prospect again this season, is a future starter but after splitting 2015 in AA and AAA, the Reds could look to get him some major league innings out of the bullpen. He has a plus fastball with decent off-speed and breaking pitches to complement, which have given him a career 9.8 K/9 in the minors, and could prove a sneaky dominant closer for a short period of time at some point in 2016 if the Reds choose to go that route.
Honorable mention: Brandon Finnegan.
Similar to Stephenson, Finnegan is a top young arm in the Reds’ system — acquired in the trade that sent Cueto to Kansas City — and has a power arsenal that he used out of KC’s bullpen in the 2014 playoffs. The Reds appear set on making Finnegan a starter and may not want to play with his psyche, but he may ultimately wind up in the pen regardless, so he could get a run in the ninth inning in 2016.