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Transactions and 2020 Active Rosters for Other NL Central Clubs

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Pittsburgh Pirates v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

BREWERS

7/20/20: Placed LHP Brett Anderson on the 10-day IL (left index finger blister)

Anderson was going to be the #2 starter and was scheduled to start on Saturday, July 25th against the Cubs. He’s still in the rotation plans for the Brewers, and is eligible to come off of the IL on July 31st, which is the Brewers’ home opener against the Cards. With Anderson on the IL and Eric Lauer still on the COVID-19 Related Injury List, Corbin Burnes will take Anderson’s start on the 25th. Burnes was plagued with home run issues last season and was sent to the minor leagues three times, but has clawed his way back to have a fine camp. Freddy Peralta is the favorite for the third spot, with Josh Lindblom and Adrian Houser rounding out the rotation.

7/21/10: Placed RHP Ray Black on the 10-day IL (strained right rotator cuff). Purchased the contracts of RHP Justin Grimm and 1B Logan Morrison from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster at 39.

The 40-man roster spots were available because the Brewers have Angel Perdomo, Eric Lauer and Luis Urias all on on the COVID-19 Related Injury List.

Black was originally drafted by the Giants in 2011, He had Tommy John surgery in high school. He then had surgery to repair a torn labrum that delayed his professional debut by three years until 2014. After that, he had bone spurs in his elbow. Despite all that, he still touches triple digits with his fastball (average of 98.4 last year), but has been plagued by control problems his whole career, which weren’t even remotely improved until 2018. He cracked the majors in July of 2018 with the Giants, then was flipped to the Brewers last year at the trade deadline. He has 43 career MLB games in the majors with the Giants and Brewers, all in the bullpen. His control problems returned last year, though not as severe as they were when he was younger. Now 30 and out of options, there does not appear to be an arm injury Black hasn’t sustained.

You may remember Grimm from his days with the Cubs. Originally a 5th round draft choice by the Rangers in 2010, he made his major league debut less than two years after he was drafted. The Rangers sent him to the Cubs in the 2013 deadline deal for Matt Garza. Although he had 17 career starts in the majors, the Cubs moved him to the bullpen, where he was a mainstay for parts of 5 seasons. He pitched 1 inning against the Cards in Game 4 of the 2015 NLDS and struck out the side. In 2017, his strikeout rate went down, his walk rate went up, and he got crushed with too many home runs. The club released him in 2018 spring training after he lost an arbitration hearing with the parties only $275,000 apart.

Since then, Grimm has bounced to 6 different organizations. He signed with the Royals after being released by the Cubs, but was released after 2 disabled list stints, including a back injury. The Mariners picked him up on a minor league deal and called him up when rosters expanded in September, but outrighted him after the season was over. He signed a minor league deal with the Indians to start 2019, but opted out of his deal when he was informed that he would not make the opening day roster. Grimm then signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers, who flipped him to the Reds. He was declared an automatic Rule 55 minor league free agent after 2019 and signed a minor league deal with the Brewers with a spring training invite for 2020. I am not sure what his salary will be in the majors. He has been a fastball/curveball pitcher, but after a while, batters learned to let his curveball go and destroy his fastball. Grimm is now 31 years old, and is only 61 days of service shy of eligibility for Article XX-B free agency. With service time being prorated this year, he only needs 22 days on the active roster to get it. He’s out of minor league options, and even if he wasn’t, he has enough service time that he couldn’t be optioned without his consent anyway. He looks to help stabilize the Brewers’ bullpen.

Initially a 26th round draft choice by the Marlins out of high school in 2005, Morrison played the outfield at the beginning of his career, but now is strictly a first base option, if that. You really don’t want him in the field at all, if you can help it. Morrison started out well with the bat, but never showed the power front office types like to see from a first baseman until his age-29 season with the 2017 Rays, when he busted out with 38 home runs and a .246/.353/.516 slash line, a 131 DRC+ and a 3.2 WARP. It was the only season of his career where he posted an OBP over .333 and a WARP over 1.3.

Morrison’s time since then has been another story. A hip injury cost him a bunch of time with the 2018 Twins, and after Minnesota declined his 2019 option, he could only find a minor league deal with the Yankees to start 2019. Morrison opted out of that deal in July when he wasn’t added to the roster, and was then picked up by the Phillies, who called him up in mid-August. Although he mashed AAA pitching, he only slashed .200/.263/.400 over 38 PA. As an Article XX-B free agent, Morrison had the right to opt out of his deal if he wasn’t added, and said that he would if he didn’t make the club. Ryan Braun’s availability for opening day is in question, the DH is in play, and it wouldn’t hurt to have an additional potential lefty power source on the bench. All factors likely contributed to the Brewers’ decision to add him.

7/23/20: Purchased the contract of RHP Mike Morin from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster full. Recalled RHP J.P. Feyereisen, RHP Bobby Wahl and RHP Eric Yardley (all of whom had been optioned earlier but were in Summer Camp) from the Alternate Training Site. Re-assigned C David Freitas, C Jacob Nottingham, IF Ryon Healy, IF Mark Mathias and IF Ronny Rodriguez (all of whom had been optioned earlier but were in Summer Camp) to the Alternate Training Site. Re-assigned RHP Zack Brown, RHP Jake Faria, RHP Shelby Miller, RHP Drew Rasmussen, IF Jace Peterson and OF Keon Broxton to the Alternate Training Site. Club Player Pool at 55. Opening Day Roster had 16 pitchers and 14 position players.

Morin was initially drafted in the 13th round of the 2012 draft by the Los Angeles Angels and made his major league debut in 2014. Morin’s calling card was always a stellar changeup, but the pitch has seemed to disappear over the years. The Royals claimed him from the Angels on outright assignment waivers in September of 2017, then the Mariners nabbed him on waivers in December of that same year. Morin only pitched 6 games in the majors in 2018 while being outrighted 3 times by Seattle. He started 2019 on a minor league deal with the Twins in 2019, who called him up in May and flipped him to the Phillies in July. He managed to pitch 52 games with good control, but his strikeout rate cratered. Signed to a minor league deal with the Brewers for 2020, he was not a favorite to make the club. He’s out of options and eligible for arbitration, making him a candidate for being removed at any time.

7/26/20: Designated RHP Mike Morin for assignment. Activated LHP Eric Lauer from the COVID-19 Related IL. 40-man roster still full. CPP still at 55.

Well, that didn’t last long. Although he cracked he opening day roster, Morin did not pitch in the first 2 games before being bumped from the roster. Lauer never did test positive for COVID, but it was reported that he was in close proximity to someone who did. Lauer was a candidate to pitch in the rotation, but the Brewers have blurred the distinction between starters and relievers in recent years.

CURRENT ACTIVE ROSTER (30)

PITCHERS (16)

Starters (5): Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser, Josh Lindblom

Relievers (11): Alex Claudio (L), J.P. Feyereisen, Justin Grimm, Josh Hader (L), Eric Lauer (L) Corey Knebel, David Phelps, Brent Suter (L), Bobby Wahl, Devin Williams, Eric Yardley

POSITION PLAYERS (14)

Catchers (2): Omar Narvaez (L), Manny Pina

Infielders (7): Orlando Arcia, Jedd Gyorko, Keston Hiura, Brock Holt (L), Logan Morrison (L), Justin Smoak (S), Eric Sogard (L)

Outfielders (5): Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Ben Gamel (L), Avisail Garcia, Christian Yelich (L)

10-Day IL (2)

LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Ray Black

COVID-19 Related IL (2)

LHP Angel Perdomo, IF Luis Urias

ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (23)

Optioned Players (8): RHP Trey Supak, C David Freitas, C Jacob Nottingham, IF Ryon Healy, IF Mark Mathias, IF Ronny Rodriguez, OF Corey Ray, OF Tyrone Taylor

Non-roster Players (15): LHP Clayton Andrews, RHP Phil Bickford, RHP Zack Brown, RHP Jake Faria, RHP Dylan File, LHP Antoine Kelly, RHP Shelby Miller, RHP Drew Rasmussen, LHP Ethan Small, C Mario Feliciano, IF Jace Peterson, IF Brice Turang, OF Keon Broxton, OF Thomas Dillard, OF Tristen Lutz

CUBS

7/23/20: Placed IF Daniel Descalso on the 45-day IL (left ankle sprain). Designated IF Robel Garcia for assignment. Purchased the contracts of LHP Rex Brothers and C Josh Phegley from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster full. Placed LHP Jose Quintana on the 10-day IL, retroactive to July 20th (left thumb nerve injury). Optioned RHP Jharel Cotton and RHP Ryan Tepera to the Alternate Training Site. Recalled RHP James Norwood and RHP Dillon Maples (who had been optioned earlier but were in Summer Camp) from the Alternate Training Site. Re-assigned RHP Colin Rea (who had been optioned earlier but was in Summer Camp) to the Alternate Training Site. Placed NRI OF Mark Zagunis on the minor league restricted list (opt out). Re-assigned LHP Danny Hultzen, C P.J. Higgins, IF Hernan Perez and OF Ian Miller to the Alternate Training Site. Signed UT Derek Dietrich to a minor league deal, added him to the Club Player Pool and sent him to the Alternate Training Site. Club Player Pool at 55. Opening Day Roster had 16 pitchers and 14 position players.

Brothers was a 2009 compensation pick by the Rockies. A power lefty with a hard slider, he had a 31% strikeout rate in the minors, and was in the majors by June of 2011. He was seen as the closer of the future. His problem was always control, and the issue came to a head in 2014, when he walked 14% of batters and his strikeout rate went down. His peripherals failing to improve in 2015 when he was sent to the minors, the Rockies cut bait and traded him to the Cubs. The Cubs signed him to a deal to avoid arbitration, but released him in spring training of 2016. After he was out of baseball for one year, the Braves signed him to a 2017 minor league deal and called him up in June. He was outrighted after 1 game in 2018, then pitched 2019 on a minor league deal with the Yankees. Brothers is now 32 years old, has 1 minor league option left and is eligible for arbitration. I wouldn’t expect the Cubs to have much patience.

Phegley was a 2009 compensation pick by the White Sox. He was a backup catcher for that club from 2013-2014, spending most of his time in the minor leagues. Flipped to the Oakland Athletics in the Jeff Samardzija trade, he was a backup again from 2014-2019. You have to root for a player who almost lost his career to a rare blood disorder and surgery to remove his spleen. He’s typical of any player you might encounter in the union hall of the International Brotherhood of Backup Catchers. No bat, competent on defense, and that’s about it. According to FRAA, his defense really took a turn for the worse last year. Non-tendered by the Athletics, he signed a minor league deal with the Cubs. Phegley is 32 years old and has more than 5 years of MLB service, meaning he may not be sent to the minor leagues without his consent. He will only need to stay on the active roster for 31 days this season to be eligible for Article XX-B free agency. The Cubs are a team that could actually use a third catcher in this environment as both Contreras and Caratini are good enough hitters to slot them in the DH spot.

The DFA of Garcia must mean they don’t believe in his defense enough to use him as a backup and they don’t trust he will make enough contact to pinch hit.

7/24/20: Signed OF Ryan LaMarre to a minor league deal, added him to the Club Player Pool and sent him to the ATS. Added LHP Burl Carraway to the Club Player Pool and sent him to the ATS. Club Player Pool at 57.

7/26/20: Placed LHP Brad Wieck on the 10-day IL (right hamstring strain). Recalled RHP Ryan Tepera from the ATS. Noted the loss of IF Robel Garcia to the Reds on an outright assignment waiver claim.

Wieck hurt his hamstring on the mound in yesterday’s game. There is no current timetable for his return.

CURRENT ACTIVE ROSTER (30)

PITCHERS (16)

Starters (5): Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Jon Lester (L), Alec Mills

Relievers (11): Rex Brothers (L), Jeremy Jeffress, Craig Kimbrel, Dillon Maples, James Norwood, Kyle Ryan (L), Casey Sadler, Ryan Tepera, Duane Underwood, Jr., Rowan Wick, Dan Winkler

POSITION PLAYERS (14)

Catchers (3): Victor Caratini (S), Willson Contreras, Josh Phegley

Infielders (6): Javier Baez, David Bote, Kris Bryant, Nico Hoerner, Jason Kipnis (L), Anthony Rizzo (L)

Outfielders (5): Albert Almora, Jr., Ian Happ (S), Jason Heyward (L), Kyle Schwarber (L), Steven Souza, Jr.

10-Day IL (2)

LHP Jose Quintana, LHP Brad Wieck

45-day IL (1)

IF Daniel Descalso

ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (25)

Optioned Players (6): RHP Adbert Alzolay, C Miguel Amaya, RHP Jharel Cotton, RHP Tyson Miller, RHP Colin Rea, LHP Justin Steele

Non-roster Players (19): RHP Cory Abbott, RHP Jason Adam, LHP Burl Carraway, RHP Juan Gamez, LHP Danny Hultzen, LHP Brailyn Marquez, RHP Trevor Megill, RHP Dakota Mekkes, LHP Jack Patterson, RHP Michael Rucker, LHP Keegan Thompson, C P.J. Higgins, C Jose Lobaton, UT Derek Dietrich, IF Christopher Morel, IF Hernan Perez, OF Brennen Davis, OF Ryan LaMarre, OF Ian Miller

*RHP Manuel Rodriguez and IF Zack Short are 40-man roster players, but are not on the CPP.

PIRATES

7/18/20: Added SS Nick Gonzales and SS Liover Peguero to the Club Player Pool. CPP at 59.

Gonzales was the Pirates’ first round draft choice this past June out of New Mexico State. He’s an offensive-minded shortstop, who was switched to the position from second base his senior year in college. Peguero is a 19-year old prospect that the Pirates got back as one of the pieces in the Starling Marte deal with the Diamondbacks. He hasn’t played above short-season ball so far.

7/19/20: Purchased the contract of C John Ryan Murphy from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster at 36.

With catcher Luke Maile out for the season, the Pirates only had starter Jacob Stallings on the 40-man. The Pirates went with Murhphy over Andrew Susac, the only other catcher in the Club Player Pool with MLB experience. Murphy was a 2nd round draft choice by the Yankees in 2009 and made his major league debut in 2013. He’s seen time as a backup every year since, and has worked for the Yankees, Twins, Diamondbacks, and most recently the Atlanta Braves (for only 1 game last year). He hasn’t been able to hit in the majors at all, but he always got positive marks for defense in the minors, especially pitch framing. He also got a very positive review for his defense in 2018, the season he had a career-high 44 starts with Arizona. The Braves non-tendered Murphy last December, and he signed a minor league deal with the Pirates. Murphy is out of options and arbitration-eligible.

7/20/20: Placed OF Gregory Polanco on the COVID-19 Related Injury List. Purchased the contract of LHP Robbie Erlin from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster still at 36. CPP at 58.

The only 40-man roster lefties the Pirates had in camp were Steven Brault and Sam Howard. They decided to supplement things with non-roster invitees, including Erlin. Erlin was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft by the Rangers. The Rangers traded him to the Padres at the 2011 trade deadline as part of a package for Mike Adams. He showed impeccable control and a good changeup until he hit AAA in 2015 when he strikeout rate plummeted. Then, after 2 starts in 2016, he lost the rest of that season and the entire 2017 season to Tommy John surgery. Erlin bounced back in 2018 to lead all Padres pitchers with a 2.6 WARP, while walking only 1 man per 9. He started out in relief, but became a rotation mainstay by August. In 2019, Erlin had a personal-best 8.5 K/9, but got BABIPd around the yard at a .373 clip, and he elected free agency in lieu of accepting an outright assignment to AAA. Erlin looks to become a top lefty option out of the bullpen for the Pirates this year. He is out of options, and has enough service time to refuse a minor league assignment. He also is eligible for arbitration, and if he sticks on the active roster for 46 days, he will be an Article XX-B free agent in the offseason.

Polanco is asymptomatic and is expected back soon, but his absence temporarily thins the Pirates’ outfield depth. In the meantime, the Bucs have been screwing around with Cole Tucker in right field.

7/23/20: Placed C Luke Maile on the 45-day IL (right finger fracture). Purchased the contracts of LHP Derek Holland, LHP Nik Turley and IF Phillip Evans from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster at 38. Placed IF JT Riddle on the 10-day IL, retroactive to July 20th (right abdomen strain). Recalled RHP JT Brubaker and SS Cole Tucker (who had been optioned earlier but were in Summer Camp) from the Alternate Training Site. Recalled OF Jason Martin (who had been optioned earlier and was assigned to the ATS the whole time) from the Alternate Training Site. Re-assigned RHP Blake Cederlind and 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (both of whom had been optioned earlier, initially assigned to Summer Camp, but were out the whole time after positive COVID tests) to the Alternate Training Site. Re-assigned OF Socrates Brito to the Alternate Training Site. Club Player Pool at 57. Opening Day Roster had 16 pitchers and 14 position players.

The Pirates are plugging Holland in the rotation, which goes to show you the sorry state of the Pirates’ pitching staff. The lefty will be 34 years old in September and is best known for his career as a starter for 8 years with the Texas Rangers, when he was one of the better young starters in the American League. Shoulder injuries led to reduced effectiveness. Since 2017, he has bounced between the White Sox, Giants, and most recently Cubs, where he spent time last year in the bullpen. Holland does do a fine job at getting left-handers out, but it is unclear how valuable that skill alone is in this environment.

Turley was a 50th round draft choice in 2008 by the Yankees, and has taken a circuitous route back to the majors. Although the Yankees purchased his contract in November of 2012, he didn’t make his major league debut until 2017 with the Twins. Released by the Yankees organization in 2014, he bounced from the Giants, to the White Sox, to the Red Sox, then the Twins, all on minor-league deals. The Twins called him up in mid-June of 2017, where he flopped in 10 games and 3 starts, allowing an astonishing 2.55 HR/9. The Pirates picked him up on waivers in November of 2017. His 2018 season was lost as he first got slapped with an 80-game suspension for testing positive for Ipamorelin, a performance enhancing drug, and then landed on the 60-day IL with a left elbow strain. I haven’t seen any reports that he had Tommy John surgery, but that elbow strain apparently cost him all of 2019 as well, because he didn’t pitch at all last season. His major problem was always his control, but apparently it’s true that lefties really do have 9 lives. Turley will be 30 in September and is out of options.

Evans was drafted in the 15th round by the Mets in 2011. The Mets added him to the 40-man roster in September of 2017 just as he was set to become an automatic Rule 55 minor league free agent. He had won the AA Eastern League batting title in 2016. The Mets then outrighted him in October and added him back in March of 2018. Outrighted again in June of 2018, and added back again in July, he broke his leg on August 1, 2018 when Adam Eaton of the Nationals took him out in a slide at 2nd base. After being outrighted yet again, Evans ended up with the Cubs in 2019 on a minor league deal, and now with the Pirates. Evans came up as a shortstop, but was always thought to be too thick to play there, and he was eventually moved off the position. He’s an okay hitter, but his defense is below average. Evans is 27 years old and has 2 minor league options remaining.

7/27/20: Optioned OF Jason Martin to the ATS. Activated OF Gregory Polanco from the COVID-19 Related IL. 40-man roster at 39. Club Player Pool at 58.

Martin did not get any playing time during the Pirates’ opening 3-game series with the Cardinals, but manager Derek Shelton is high on his speed and defense. When Polanco had to go on the IL, Shelton asked for Martin, who was not even in the regular summer camp, but at the ATS in Altoona.

CURRENT ACTIVE ROSTER (30)

PITCHERS (16)

Starters (6): Joe Musgrove, Trevor Williams, Mitch Keller, Derek Holland (L), Steven Brault (L)/Chad Kuhl

Relievers (10): JT Brubaker, Nick Burdi, Kyle Crick, Robbie Erlin (L), Michael Feliz, Clay Holmes, Dovydas Neverauskas, Richard Rodriguez, Chris Stratton, Nik Turley (L)

POSITION PLAYERS (14)

Catchers (2): John Ryan Murphy, Jacob Stallings

Infielders (8): Josh Bell (S), Phillip Evans, Adam Frazier (L), Erik Gonzalez, Colin Moran (L), Kevin Newman, Jose Osuna, Cole Tucker (S)

Outfielders (4): Jarrod Dyson (L), Guillermo Heredia, Gregory Polanco (L), Bryan Reynolds (S)

10-Day IL (1)

IF JT Riddle

45-Day IL (4)

RHP Chris Archer, RHP Jameson Taillon, C Luke Maile, OF Kevin Kramer

COVID-19 Related IL (1)

RHP Keone Kela

ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (26)

Optioned Players (8): RHP Blake Cederlind, RHP Geoff Hartlieb, LHP Sam Howard, RHP Cody Ponce, 1B Will Craig, SS Oneil Cruz, 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes, OF Jason Martin

Non-roster Players (18): RHP Cody Bolton, LHP Miguel Del Pozo, RHP Max Kranick, RHP James Marvel, RHP Nick Mears, LHP Braeden Ogle, RHP Yacksel Rios, RHP Aaron Shortridge, C Christian Kelley, C Andrew Susac, IF Ji-Hwan Bae, IF Rodolfo Castro, SS Nick Gonzales, 1B Mason Martin, SS Liover Peguero, OF Socrates Brito, OF Jared Oliva, OF Travis Swaggerty

*Note that although RHP Jameson Taillon is on the 45-day IL and out for the season, he was still included in the Pirates’ initial Club Player Pool, even though players on the 45-day IL are not supposed to count against the pool. I have seen no notice that he has been removed. There is still room to keep him on, even when Kela and Polanco are activated from the COVID-19 Related IL. Activating them will place the CPP at 59. I have listed only 25 at the Alternate Training Site, because those 25 are theoretically available to play this season. Thus, although the CPP is technically at 58, there are really only 57 available players.

REDS

7/19/20: Designated OF Scott Schebler for assignment. Purchased the contract of LHP Brooks Raley from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster still full. CPP at 57.

Schebler was a 26th round draft choice of the Dodgers that cracked the major leagues in 2015 initially for one day to start in LF against the Cards early in June, became a September call-up, then was traded to the Reds after the year as part of a 3-club deal that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox. In his first full major league season in 2017, he hit 30 HRs (17 on the road), but had a below average season according to DRC+ because his OBP was only .307. In 2018, his walk rate went up and his strikeout rate went down, and he was having a nice season until he sprained his AC joint running into the outfield wall in a game against the Cards. When he returned, his power was sapped. As the primary center fielder to start 2019, Schebler was optioned to AAA on May 3rd with his slash line at .123/.253/.222 over 95 PA. An oblique injury and a shoulder surgery ended his season. Now out of options, there are about eight outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart. Once it was announced that Travis Jankowski—a speed and defensive specialist who is also out of options— was going to make the club, Schebler’s days were numbered. Not known for his defense, Schebler can stand at any of the outfield positions, and you’d think some club that needs a bench outfielder with left-handed power would take a look.

The 32-year old Raley was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 draft by the Cubs. Although he only had 14 starts at the AAA level, the Cubs called him up in August of 2012 and put him in the rotation when Matt Garza went down with an injury. He got crushed, allowing 7 HR and 11 BB to go along with only 16 SO over 5 starts and 24.1 IP. Raley pitched 9 games in the Cubs’ bullpen in 2013 with a BB rate of over 5 men per 9. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since. He was DFAd by the Cubs, claimed by the Twins, DFAd again and claimed by the Angels, outrighted to AAA, and released all in 2014. Since then, he has pitched in Korea with the KBO as a starter. Raley was invited to camp as a non-roster invitee, and with the Reds’ rotation set, looks to serve as middle relief help. He’s out of minor league options, and I’m unsure if he has a special contract that prevents him from being assigned to the minors without his consent.

7/20/20: Released UT NRI Derek Dietrich. CPP at 56.

Dietrich had an opt-out in his minor league deal that required the club to release him before opening day if he wasn’t going to make the roster. Another club might be interested in the bat-only lefty.

7/21/20: Returned Rule 5 Draft Pick OF Mark Payton to the Oakland Athletics organization. 40-man roster at 39, CPP at 55.

This is likely the roster move that the Reds made to clear space for the roster spot the club has promised to RHP Nate Jones. Payton is a 28-year old minor league journeyman, having been originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 7th round in 2014. Oakland took him in the minor league portion of the December 2018 Rule 5 draft, and all of a sudden he busted out last year with a .334/.400/.653 line and 30 HR with AAA Las Vegas. Of course it was the 2019 Pacific Coast League and one of the most friendly hitting environments in that league. He had never hit 10 HR in any one season in the past. The other clubs don’t seem to be interested in carrying him on the active roster all year, because for the A’s organization to buy him back for $50,000, he had to first clear outright assignment waivers. Like I said with Schebler, the Reds have Akiyama, Aquino, Castellanos, Ervin, Jankowski, Senzel, VanMeter and Winker all on the 40-man roster. If Schebler wasn’t going to crack a 30-man roster over Jankowski, Payton had a tough chance making it.

7/22/20: Added RHP Hunter Greene and C Mark Kolozsvary to the Club Player Pool. CPP at 57. Purchased the contract of RHP Nate Jones from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster is now full. Optioned IF Alex Blandino to the Alternate Training Site.

The 20-year old Greene was drafted #2 overall in 2017. Tommy John surgery cut his 2018 season short in July, and he missed all of 2019. He throws a fastball that can touch 100 mph. Kolozsvary was drafted in the same draft in the 7th round. He will be 25 in September and didn’t hit at all in High-A ball last year, although he did walk 13% of the time.

Jones is a 34-year old reliever that was drafted by the White Sox in the 7th round of the 2007 draft, and has 8 years of MLB service on the dot, all with that club. He cracked the club’s opening day roster in 2012 when he was 26-years old and hasn’t been optioned since, but he’s missed a truckload of time to injuries. He had a 100 mph fastball with a basically unhittable slider, and it was thought he might break out as the White Sox closer in 2014. But after 2 starts, he went on the disabled list with a muscle strain in his left hip, had back surgery, and while recovering from that, learned that he needed Tommy John surgery. That cost him the rest of the 2014 season, and he didn’t return to the mound until August 2015.

After that 2015 season, the club signed him to a crazy team-friendly, incentive-laden 3-year deal, with 3 additional option years after that. The 2019 option year called for a club option at the league minimum, but converted it to a $4.65 million option if he didn’t need elbow surgery by the end of the 2018 season. After a very fine 2016, his season was shut down in late April of 2017 for nerve repositioning surgery in his elbow. With his peripherals trending in the wrong direction, he was shut down for 3 months in 2018 with a pronator strain. I’m not sure why that 2017 surgery didn’t count against him, but the White Sox exercised his 2019 option at $4.65 million. Then Jones was shut down again in late April of 2019, this time for right forearm surgery. In an interesting development, the Rangers sent two prospects to the White Sox for Jones, who was on the 60-day IL and almost certain not to pitch the rest of the year. They then paid Jones $1.25 million to buy out his 2020 option. The club did this because they also got $1 million in extra international signing bonus pool money along with the deal. Who knows if Jones is going to be able to last, but if he can get things right, he could be a dangerous addition to the Reds’ pen. At a pro-rated $1.5 million salary, it’s worth it for the Reds to find out.

As for the option of Blandino, it looks like the Reds don’t have a true backup shortstop on the 40-man roster that they’re going to use. Although Nick Senzel has only played CF in the majors, both he and Josh VanMeter played a lot of infield in the minors. Kyle Farmer, who caught exclusively early in his minor league career, and is listed as a catcher, has also played the infield.

7/23/20: Placed RHP Anthony DeSclafani on the 10-day IL, retroactive to July 20th (mild right teres major strain).

This is the kind of injury you would pretty much only see in a baseball pitcher. The best description in layman’s terms I could find to describe it is the muscle that connects the lower part of the shoulder blade to the arm. DeSclafani felt this strain during his last pitching outing in camp. He is only expected to miss one start. Tyler Mahle, who is listed as a reliever by the club, is expected to take his turn in the rotation.

The Reds submitted their opening day roster today with only 28 players, saying only that they didn’t have to make all their moves today and would probably add two more position players on Friday the 24th. The 40-man roster is full and it just so happens that C Tyler Stephenson and OF Aristides Aquino are the only position players other than Blandino left on the 40-man that have been optioned out.

7/24/20: Designated RHP Justin Shafer and LHP Josh D. Smith for assignment. Purchased the contracts of IF Christian Colon and 1B Matt Davidson from the Alternate Training Site. 40-man roster still full. Traded OF Scott Schebler to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations. CPP at 55. Opening Day Roster had only 14 pitchers and 16 position players.

Colon was drafted #4 overall by the Royals in the 2010 draft, but his career hasn’t turned out like one would hope for a 1st round pick. Drafted as a shortstop, he had to move off the position, and basically became a utlility infielder, never getting more than 161 PA per season in parts of 4 seasons with the Royals. He was a cult hero in the playoffs for that club, however. Colon’s claim to fame is driving in the tying run in the bottom of the 12th of the 2014 AL Wild Card Game against the Oakland Athletics. That game was the first playoff game for the Royals franchise since Game 7 of the 1985 World Series. He then drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th in the 5th and deciding game of the 2015 World Series against the Mets. Other than that, he didn’t do much.

The Marlins claimed Colon on outright assignment waivers from the Royals in May of 2017, and ended up outrighting in him June. He then played for both the Braves and Mets on minor league deals in 2018. The Reds signed him to a minor league deal for 2019, called him up for about the last 10 days of last season, then outrighted him again. Colon initially elected free agency in lieu of the assignment, but signed another minor league deal for this year. He’s now 31 years old, out of options, and if the Reds aren’t careful, he could be a Super Two and eligible for arbitration this offseason.

Davidson was a compensation pick in the 2009 draft by the Diamondbacks and made his major league debut in August 2013. The D’Backs traded Davidson to the White Sox for Addison Reed the following December, where he became blocked by Joe Crede and had two awful seasons at the plate with AAA Charlotte. When he made his major league debut with the White Sox on June 30th, 2016, he broke his foot rounding the bases and was out for the rest of the year. In 2017, he saw a lot of playing time, mostly at DH. He popped 26 homers, but his DRC+ was only 87 because his OBP was .260 and he struck out almost 9 times as much as he walked. He improved his walk rate in 2018, but was still below average offensively. The White Sox non-tendered Davidson, who then ended up with the Rangers on a minor league deal for 2019. Although he hit 33 HRs for AAA Nashville, the Rangers saw no need for his services. Davidson has always been able to hit the long ball, but has had major contact issues, with his glove not being strong enough for 3rd and his offense not being strong enough for 1st. The Reds signed him to a minor league deal, and the DH being in play this year was probably a major factor in his addition to the roster. Davidson is 29, out of options, and already has 2 years and 145 days of major league service, making him pretty much immediately eligible for arbitration as a Super Two, which was why he was non-tendered in the first place.

7/25/20: Placed C Tucker Barnhart on the Paternity List. Placed 1B Matt Davidson on the COVID-19 Related IL. Recalled RHP Tejay Antone and OF Aristides Aquino from the ATS. 40-man roster at 39. CPP at 54.

That didn’t last long for Davidson, who started the Reds’ first game against the Tigers at DH and went 0 for 2 with a pop-out to 1st and grounded into a double play. Jesse Winker pinch hit for him in the 6th. He later tested positive for COVID-19. Barnhart’s wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy today. Barnhart will have to be activated before the game on July 28th.

7/26/20: Placed 2B Mike Moustakas on the COVID-19 Related IL. Recalled C Tyler Stephenson from the ATS. Claimed IF Robel Garcia on outright assignment waivers from the Reds, added him to the CPP and optioned him to the ATS. 40-man roster at 39, CPP at 54.

Moustakas woke up Saturday morning “not feeling well,” we were told, which sounds like he either had a fever or other symptoms that caused concern. The only available position players to recall from the ATS were either Stephenson or Alex Blandino, and they likely grabbed Stephenson to keep a 3rd catcher, with Barnhart on the Paternity List and Farmer perhaps seeing some time at second base. Garcia will serve as Moustakas insurance. In the meantime the club may use a Farmer/VanMeter platoon at second base.

7/27/20: Noted the loss of RHP Justin Shafer and LHP Josh D. Smith to the Miami Marlins on outright assignment waiver claims.

CURRENT ACTIVE ROSTER (30)

PITCHERS (15)

Starters (5): Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley (L), Tyler Mahle

Relievers (10): Tejay Antone, Amir Garrett (L), Raisel Iglesias, Nate Jones, Michael Lorenzen, Brooks Raley (L), Cody Reed (L), Robert Stephenson, Pedro Strop, Lucas Sims

POSITION PLAYERS (15)

Catchers (3): Curt Casali, Kyle Farmer, Tyler Stephenson

Infielders (5): Christian Colon, Freddy Galvis (S) Eugenio Suarez, Josh VanMeter (L), Joey Votto (L)

Outfielders (7): Shogo Akiyama (L), Aristides Aquino, Nick Castellanos, Phillip Ervin, Travis Jankowski (L), Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker (L)

10-Day IL (1)

RHP Anthony DeSclafani

Paternity List (1)

C Tucker Barnhart

COVID-19 Related IL (2)

1B Matt Davidson, 2B Mike Moustakas

ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (22)

Optioned Players (7): RHP Matt Bowman, RHP Jose De Leon, RHP Ryan Hendrix, RHP Joel Kuhnel, RHP Tony Santillan, IF Alex Blandino, IF Robel Garcia

Non-roster Players (15): RHP Ruben Alaniz, LHP Jesse Biddle, RHP David Carpenter, RHP Hunter Greene, LHP Nick Lodolo, RHP Alex Powers, RHP Sal Romano, RHP Tyler Thornburg, C Mark Kolozsvary, C Francisco Pena, IF Jose Garcia, IF Jonathan India, IF Alfredo Rodriguez, OF Stuart Fairchild, OF Boog Powell