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Emilio Pagan headed to Reds' homer-friendly ballpark

It's a bold move by the Reds.
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When Emilio Pagan is on his game he is as good as any reliever in baseball. But when he's off his game, he's like a pitching machine for home run hitters. That's what makes Wednesday's report that Pagan is signing with the Reds so fascinating. 

Since 2021, no relief pitcher has allow more home runs than Pagan (33), who will now pitch in what Baseball Savant deems the most homer-friendly ballpark in the majors: Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Pagan allowed 18 long balls in 2021 with the Padres, 12 more with the Twins in 2022 and last season he calmed things down by serving up just five homers with Minnesota. 

According to's Mark Feinsand, the Reds and Pagan have reached agreement on a two-year deal that will become official if Pagan passes a physical. 

In 66 games last season, Pagan posted a 2.99 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, both well below his career marks (3.71 ERA and 1.20 WHIP). But something clicked in the second half of 2023 for the 32-year-old right-hander. 

Before the All-Star break, Pagan posted a 3.96 ERA in 36.1 innings. After the break he had a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings, allowing just seven earned runs on 14 hits (two homers). Pagan allowed 15 extra-base hits in the first half (11 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers) compared to just four extra-base hits in the second half (1 double, 1 triple, 2 homers). 

If the Reds get the second-half version of Pagan they'll be in good shape. If they get the historical norm – the guy who serves up homers more than any reliever in the game since 2021 – they might be second-guessing the signing. 

Emilio Pagan

Sep 5, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Emilio Pagan (15) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field.