Cincy Agreeing With Ex-Frog Finnegan
ARLINGTON—Brandon Finnegan always envisioned coming to Globe Life Park as a big-leaguer, but never figured it would be with the Cincinnati Reds. After the Kansas City Royals drafted the Fort Worth native 17th overall in 2014 out of TCU, it appeared his Metroplex return would come with KC. However, the now 23-year-old southpaw was traded to the Reds last July in a deal that sent Johnny Cueto, who ended up helping the Royals win their first World Series in 30 years, to KC.
Finnegan never saw it coming.
“It was definitely a blindside,” Finnegan said. “I spent almost a full year with them and it was just weird, being that first pick a year ago and getting traded. As soon as I was traded, [Reds President of Baseball Operations] Walt Jocketty told me that the plan for me was to start. I didn’t think I was going to get to do that in Kansas City because I was doing so well in the pen.”
However, that wasn’t the only positive accompanying the shift from the American to the National League. “I get to hit [in the NL],” Finnegan said. “That’s always a plus and I get to start. I’m happy where I’m at. I love this team. This team is full of a lot of great guys and a lot of great players.”
Thus far in 2016, the ex-Horned Frog has made 16 starts and is 3-6 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Finnegan didn’t pitch during the Reds’ two-game series in Arlington last week, but that didn’t dim his excitement about returning somewhere he frequented as a young baseball fan.
“It’s awesome,” he said of returning to Arlington. “It was cool to watch [the Rangers play] and now the fact that I’m here to play, it’s special. I wish I was pitching against them, but just being here feels good.”
Prior to Tuesday’s 8-2 win by the Reds, the Rangers honored members of the 1996 AL championship team, the first playoff team in club history. Seeing former players like Rusty Greer and Pudge Rodriguez, guys he grew up watching, back where they once called home, was a big thrill for Finnegan. “It was cool. It’s weird because I saw them play and now I’m doing what they were doing,” he said. “It’s kind of weird to think about, but it’s awesome to see guys from here end up in the Hall of Fame, especially guys I used to be fans of.”
Finnegan has been a Red for just under a year and since arriving veterans like Jay Bruce, a fellow Texan, have made him feel welcome, which Finnegan is forever grateful for. “He wants to win,” Bruce said of Finnegan. “He’s a young kid, but he acts like he has some experience, pretty composed for a young kid and it’s good. I think the biggest thing is he wants to learn, he wants to get better and he wants to take that next step as a pitcher.”