8/31/20: Traded RHP David Phelps to the Phildelphia Phillies for 3 players to be named later. Placed RHP Brandon Woodruff on the paternity leave list. Recalled RHP Trey Supak from the ATS. Purchased the contract of RHP Justin Topa from the ATS. Released RHP Justin Grimm. 40-man roster still at 39. CPP at 55.
The Brewers were clearly playing for the future here, as Phelps was one of the club’s best relievers, and they didn’t get anything back that could help the club this year. Phelps was tied for 2nd on the club in appearances, and had a 41.7% K rate to only a 4.2% BB rate with a 2.75 FIP. His xFIP is even lower at 1.76 because of his abnormal 26.8% HR/FB rate, and he kept the ball on the ground 52% of the time. The club still has Freddy Peralta, Devin Williams, Josh Hader (who has allowed no hits but 10 walks) and Brent Suter who have done the job.
Because the players the Brewers are reported to have received were not on the Phillies’ Club Player Pool, they could not be officially named in the trade, and the Phillies must not have had enough space to add them. Many reports have stated that the players the Brewers will get are RHP Juan Geraldo, RHP Israel Puello and RHP Brandon Ramey. Each of these prospects is 20 years old or less and none have pitched past Rookie ball. Ramey, who turned 20 on the day of this trade, actually has the least amount of games pitched with 11. The 30th round draft choice from 2018 had 30 strikeouts over 22.2 IP in the Gulf Coast League last season. Geralso and Puello are both 19-year old undrafted free agents out of the Dominican Republic. Geraldo actually pitched stateside in the Gulf Coast League last season for part of the time as a 17-year old and had 33 strikeouts to 7 walks in 25 IP. Puello, who will turn 20 next month, repeated the Dominican Summer League last season as a starter and struck out 83 over 65.2 IP to only 19 walks.
Supak, who was part of the first group assigned to the ATS in mid-July, will be making his major league debut when he gets into a game. Initially drafted by the Pirates #73 overall as a Competitive Balance Round pick in 2014, he was traded to the Brewers as part of a package for Jason Rogers after the 2015 season and was added to the 40-man after the 2018 season. This is his 7th year in pro ball. The 24-year old has been almost exclusively a starter in his minor league career, and only has 7 games at the AAA level, where he got crushed just like pretty much everyone else.
Topa, who was not even added to the Club Player Pool until August 3rd, is an interesting story, which I outlined in detail here. The short version is that he had 2 Tommy John surgeries, got released by the Pirates organization, did a stint in independent ball, and will now make his major league debut at age 29. He’s never played higher than the AA level, splitting time equally last season between High-A and AA.
Woodruff’s wife gave birth to a baby daughter on the night of this move, and he will be gone for a minimum of 3 consecutive days. He started the game the night before this move, and is not expected to miss a start.
9/1/20: Placed IF Jedd Gyorko on the bereavement/family medical emergency list. Optioned RHP Trey Supak to the ATS. Recalled OF Tyrone Taylor from the ATS. Purchased the contract of RHP Phil Bickford from the ATS. 40-man roster now full. CPP at 56.
First, one housekeeping matter. The CPP is at 56 instead of 55 because I missed that on August 15th, the club had added IF Eduardo Garcia to their 60-man pool. He was an international signing out of Venezuela in 2018, signed for future service on his 16th birthday. He spent last year in the Dominican Summer League last season, but was limited to 10 games, because he broke his ankle. The club added the 18-year old just to get some reps.
The bereavement/family medical emergency list is designed to deal with the death or serious illness of a person in the player or spouse’s immediate family, which is defined to include spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, child, or grandchild. In this case, Gyorko’s grandfather died, and he will be gone for a minimum of 3 consecutive days. Taylor has 12 career MLB plate appearances, and only figures to stick around until Gyorko comes back because the club already has Ryan Braun on hand and has apparently made infielder Mark Mathias an extra outfielder. He might even get sent down when Brandon Woodruff returns from paternity leave, as it is unusual to see the Brewers not rostering as many pitchers as they can.
It turned out that Supak did not get to make his major league debut after all, because he was only on the roster for one day and didn’t get to pitch. He was replaced on the roster by the 25-year old Bickford, who was part of the original ATS group. He was actually a first round draft choice by the Giants in 2015, but was traded as part of a package of players in August of 2016 to the Brewers for Will Smith. He was suspended for 50 games to start the 2017 season due to a second positive test for a drug of abuse, then broke his hand while practicing and was only able to pitch 6 games in Rookie ball that season. He’s never pitched past the Class A-Advanced level, having spent the last two seasons there after his first spin at that level in 2016. One would expect a 24-year old to be dominant at High-A, but he did have a 41.7% K rate last season, with a walk rate of only 8.5%.
9/2/20: Added RHP Bowden Francis, IF Gabe Holt and OF Carlos Rodriguez to the Club Player Pool and assigned them to the ATS. CPP at 59.
Francis, 24, was the club’s 7th round draft choice in 2017. He has been a starter almost exclusively, spending most of last season in AA, where he struck out 26.7% of batters. Holt, 20, was a 7th round choice in 2019 out of Texas Tech and spent last season in 2 different levels of Rookie Ball. Rodriguez, now 19 years old, was an international signing out of Venezuela in July of 2017 when he was 16. He’s spent time at 3 different levels of Rookie ball. Holt and Rodriguez are in the Pool just to gain some experience. Who knows whether we will see Francis, as the club already promoted Bickford, who never even pitched at AA at all. These additions have been listed on the transaction pages, but not formally announced by the club because the players have not completed intake testing.
9/3/20: Designated 1B Justin Smoak for assignment. Optioned RHP Phil Bickford to the ATS. Activated RHP Brandon Woodruff from the paternity leave list. Claimed 1B Daniel Vogelbach on outright assignment waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Active roster at 27. 40-man still full, CPP still at 59.
I had thought the club might go back up to 15 pitchers by sending OF Tyrone Taylor down when Woodruff came back from paternity leave. Instead, the club sent Bickford down, who hit the first two batters he ever faced in his career, breaking the left hand of Tigers CF JaCoby Jones and ending his season. In the one inning he pitched on September 1st, Bickford hit 2 guys, threw a wild pitch, allowed 4 hits (one of which was a double) and struck two batters out. Taylor will likely go down tomorrow when Gyorko returns from the bereavement list.
Smoak, who started in 29 of the Brewers’ 36 games (27 at 1B, 2 at DH), just wasn’t getting the job done, slashing only .186/.262/.381. He struck out 31.7% of the time without enough pop or on-base skills to go along with it. The Brewers will be responsible for the rest of his prorated $5 million salary if he is not claimed by another club, plus a $1 million buyout for next year’s option.
Vogelbach was originally drafted in the 2nd round by the Cubs in 2011, and even though that club added him to its 40-man roster after the 2015 season, it was inevitable that he would be traded. As an offense-only player that was defensively limited to first base, he was blocked by Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs traded him to the Mariners 10 days before the trade deadline in 2016, but he didn’t get much time in the majors until last season. In 2019, Vogelbach had as close to a “Three True Outcomes” season as you’re going to get. He had 30 homers, 92 walks and 149 strikeouts, which in total represented 48.5% of his plate appearances. Despite the homers, his overall line of .208/.341/.439 with a 111 wRC+ and 1.6 fWAR put him in about the bottom 5 of all qualified first basemen. The Mariners started him in only 49 games at 1B, placing him at DH 80 times.
This season, after 17 games at DH with an .094/.250/.226 slash line over 64 plate appearances where his power didn’t show, the Mariners cut bait and sold Vogelbach to the Blue Jays on August 24th. After 5 PA over 2 games with only 1 start at DH where Vogelbach went hitless, the Blue Jays designated Vogelbach for assignment to make room for their new acquisitions. As a pre-arbitration player, Vogelbach was signed for only $581,000 for this season. But with 1 year and 138 days of service time going into this season, he’s in Super Two territory if he should get a full year of service. He’s already out of minor league options.
Vogelbach, now 27, hasn’t played in the field all year, and has not hit left-handed pitching well during his time in the majors. His best position is probably DH, but there is talk about platooning him with Jedd Gyorko at 1B. As Gyorko has struggled against right-handed pitching in past years, the Brewers have been using him almost strictly in a platoon role at 3B with Eric Sogard this year. With Ryan Braun nursing a back injury, they certainly couldn’t do much worse than playing Gyorko every day, as he’s been their best offensive player out of all players with at least 45 PA. It will be interesting to see if they slot Vogelbach at DH and return Hiura to 2B, or whether they insist that Vogelbach play defense.
The club had a day off today, and this move technically puts the active roster at 27. The club will have to make just one roster move if both Gyorko and Vogelbach are activated tomorrow.
9/4/20: Optioned RHP Justin Topa to the ATS. Activated IF Jedd Gyorko from the bereavement/family medical emergency list. Activated 1B/DH Daniel Vogelbach onto the active roster.
I had thought for sure that the club would send OF Tyrone Taylor down when Gyorko returned. Instead, the club optioned Topa, which gives the club only 13 pitchers to 15 position players. But they expect Corey Knebel to back over the weekend and OF Avisail Garcia is nursing a hamstring injury. It looks like the club will have a 6-man bench for a day or two. Vogelbach is already on the active roster and in the lineup at DH, with Gyorko at 1B against a righty.
ACTIVE ROSTER (28)
Starters (5): Brett Anderson (L), Corbin Burnes, Adrian Houser, Josh Lindblom, Brandon Woodruff
Relievers (8): Alex Claudio (L), J.P. Feyereisen, Josh Hader (L), Freddy Peralta, Drew Rasmussen, Brent Suter (L), Devin Williams, Eric Yardley
POSITION PLAYERS (15)
Catchers (2): Omar Narvaez (L), Jacob Nottingham
Infielders (7): Orlando Arcia, Jedd Gyorko, Keston Hiura, Mark Mathias, Jace Peterson (L), Eric Sogard (L), Luis Urias, Daniel Vogelbach (L)
Outfielders (5): Ryan Braun, Ben Gamel (L), Avisail Garcia, Tyrone Taylor, Christian Yelich (L)
10-Day IL (2)
RHP Corey Knebel, C Manny Pina
45-Day IL (1)
RHP Ray Black
Restricted List (1)
CF Lorenzo Cain
ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (29)
Optioned Players (10): RHP Phil Bickford, LHP Eric Lauer, LHP Angel Perdomo, RHP Trey Supak, RHP Justin Topa, RHP Bobby Wahl, C David Freitas, IF Ryon Healy, IF Ronny Rodriguez, OF Corey Ray
Non-roster Players (19): LHP Clayton Andrews, LHP Aaron Ashby, RHP Alec Bettinger, RHP Zack Brown, RHP Jake Faria, RHP Dylan File, RHP Bowden Francis, LHP Antoine Kelly, LHP Ethan Small, C Thomas Dillard, C Mario Feliciano, C Payton Henry, IF Eduardo Garcia, IF Gabe Holt, IF Brice Turang, OF Keon Broxton, OF Tristen Lutz, OF Hedbert Perez, OF Carlos Rodriguez
8/31/20: Traded IF Zack Short to the Detroit Tigers for OF Cameron Maybin. Traded a player to be named later or cash considerations to the Boston Red Sox for LHP Josh Osich. Traded a player to be named later or cash considerations to the Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Andrew Chafin and cash considerations. Designated IF Hernan Perez and OF Ian Miller for assignment. 40-man roster full. CPP at 59. Active roster at 26.
Maybin is now 33 years old, and debuted in 2007 with the Tigers when he was 20 years old. Billed as a supremely talented possible star with 30/30 potential when he was drafted #10 overall in 2005, Maybin never did live up to all the promise. To Maybin’s credit, he’s had over 10 years of MLB service. But due to swing-and-miss issues and injuries, he’s only put together 2 seasons where he’s even been average offensively. And despite being described as a fantastic defender, he’s only had 2 or 3 above average seasons with the glove according to FRAA. He didn’t become a full-time starter until he landed with the Padres in 2011, and since then he’s seen playing time with the Braves, Tigers for a 2nd and 3rd spin, Marlins for a 2nd spin, the Astros, Angels, Mariners and Yankees. His strikeout rate has spiked in the last two years as his walk rate has increased a bit. This is basically his 3rd year in a row as a part time player, and he did perform well in a short cameo with the Yankees last season. He’s on a 1-year prorated $1.5 million deal and will be declared a free agent in the offseason. The Cubs plan to use him as a late-game defensive replacement and pinch runner.
Osich was originally drafted by the Giants in the 6th round in 2011, and made his major league debut in July of 2015. After that promising rookie campaign, he had 3 poor seasons out of the Giants’ pen, marred by high walk rates. Although he threw harder than most lefties, he especially had problems getting his secondary pitches over the plate. After 3 straight season of poor peripherals, the Giants DFAd him during 2019 spring training, and he was claimed by the Orioles and then by the White Sox after the Orioles DFAd him before the season. Osich changed up his approach last season, relying heavily on a cutter, and he doesn’t throw in the high 90s anymore. He greatly improved his strikeout and walk rates, but was bit by the home run bug, as he allowed 15 homers in only 67.2 IP. Osich would have been eligible for arbitration after last season, but the Red Sox claimed him on outright assignment waivers from the White Sox, non-tendered him and renegotiated a new $850,000 split contract with him. This year with the Red Sox, it was more of the same. Osich had 20 strikeouts and only 5 walks in 15.2 IP, but allowed 6 homers. While Wrigley Field won’t do Osich any favors, one would think his 40% HR/FB rate would come down, as that figure is almost 20% higher than his career totals. Regardless, the Cubs were in need of another lefty in the pen, as Kyle Ryan has been their only other choice with the injury to Brad Wieck, and Ryan has allowed 4 homers in 11.2 IP without the strikeouts to make up for it. Osich, who will be 32 years old in a couple of days, will be eligible for arbitration and has 1 minor league option remaining.
Chafin was a Competitive Balance Round pick in 2011 by the Diamondbacks, has played his whole career with that organization and debuted in 2014. The D’Backs have relied on Chafin heavily, as he’s made 70 or more appearances in each of the last 3 seasons. He’s been able to get left-handers and right-handers out just fine in the past, and had the best strikeout and walk rates of his career last season (30.2 % K, 8.2% BB) as his ground ball rate went down by 8%. He’s only thrown 6.2 IP over 11 games so far this season, but over that span he maintained that strikeout rate while his walk rate has gone up by 4%. He’s been BABIPd around the yard to the tune of .444, and has an impossibly low strand rate so far, but that may be just noise. The interesting thing about Chafin is that he was placed on the 10-day IL on August 19th with a left finger sprain, and he’s expected to be out for a little while longer. He’s on a 1-year prorated $3.045 million deal, of which it looks like the D’Backs are going to pay a part. Still, he can’t be sent to the minor leagues without his consent, he’s set to be a free agent after this season, and the Cubs won’t have long to give him a look.
Short was on the 40-man roster on option to the minor leagues, but was never named to the Cubs’ Club Player Pool. He technically had to be added before he was traded, but that does not affect the CPP total. Ian Miller had already been optioned, and the only one of the three removals from the 40-man roster today that was on the active roster was Hernan Perez. The Cubs have a day off tonight, and thus have some extra time to sort out the active roster. The club played a man short last night because Josh Phegley was DFAd to make room for Jose Martinez, who had not reported yet. Chafin is still on the injured list and will be there for a couple of weeks. Assuming Martinez, Maybin and Osich all report to Pittsburgh tomorrow night where the Cubs are starting a 3-game series, the Cubs will have to trim just one more person from the active roster (the club DFAd 3 players, only 2 of whom were on the active roster).
9/1/20: Optioned OF Albert Almora, Jr. to the ATS. Placed RHP Tyler Chatwood on the 10-day IL, retroactive to August 31st (right forearm strain). Designated RHP Casey Sadler for assignment. Activated 1B/DH Jose Martinez, OF Cameron Maybin and LHP Josh Osich onto the active roster. Activated 3B Kris Bryant and OF Steven Souza, Jr. from the 10-day IL. Active roster at a full 28. 40-man roster at 39. CPP at 58.
Almora has been around with the Cubs for part of the season every year since 2016, and was once considered one of the best prospects in the organization. But he has gotten worse over time at the plate, had a dreadful 72 DRC+ last season, and has reached the point where his center field defense is not likely worth the drag on the offense. With Ian Happ stealing the show this year, there wasn’t much use for Almora, as he only started 6 games in center and had more strikeouts than hits in 34 PA. He’s essentially losing his job to Maybin.
As for the DFA of Sadler, the Cubs didn’t really have any other position players with options that they felt comfortable sending out. Victor Caratini is the backup catcher, Javy Baez, Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber are starters. Nico Hoerner is still getting considerable time at 2B despite his 60 wRC+ and David Bote held down the fort at 3B with doubles pop while Bryant was gone. With a pitcher having to be trimmed, the worst was a toss-up between Sadler and Dan Winkler. Sadler was out of options and had slightly better strikeout and walk rates, but the walk rates were real bad for both. Sadler had a worse home run rate. Maybe the Cubs bought into Winkler’s .120 BABIP, thinking he can limit hard contact better. Maybe the club thought Winkler had more upside.
Bryant hasn’t been himself all year with various injuries, and the Cubs hope he gets back on track. Chatwood had to come out of his August 30th start against the Reds after only 2.1 IP with pain in his forearm and elbow. The news about Chatwood is disappointing, as he had performed very well this year when he was on the hill. There is a good chance he will be out for the year. Jose Quintana is expected to slide back into his planned rotation slot to take Chatwood’s place. With all of these moves, the Cubs have 14 pitchers and 14 position players.
9/2/20: Placed LHP Jose Quintana on the 10-day IL, retroactive to August 31st (left lat inflammation). Recalled RHP Jason Adam from the ATS. Outrighted UT Hernan Perez to the ATS. CPP at 59.
That plan sure didn’t work out. Quintana was scheduled to be the #5 starter this year, but had to have surgery on his thumb in a bizarre dishwashing accident that occurred before the season started. Placed on the IL to start the season, he returned on August 25th and pitched 3 innings in relief that night. Then he pitched another 3 innings in the game in which Chatwood was injured. He’s only pitched 6 innings all year, and who knows how long he’s going to be out. For now, the Cubs have recalled Adam for bullpen help, as the spot Quintana was going to take in the rotation won’t come up again until the weekend doubleheader with the Cardinals. At that point, a 29th man will be available. It’s unclear who the Cubs are going to slot into the rotation. Colin Rea, Tyson Miller and Adbert Alzolay are all candidates. All 3 have taken a start and Alzolay looked the sharpest. Regardless of who they choose to ultimately take the spot, they’re going to need an additional spot start because of the doubleheader.
9/3/20: Released RHP Cody Allen and RHP AJ Ramos from their minor league deals and removed them from the Club Player Pool. Outrighted C Josh Phegley and OF Ian Miller to the ATS. CPP still at 59.
This doesn’t change the 40-man roster, as Phegley and Miller had already been DFAd. Phegley and Miller just replaced Allen and Ramos on the CPP, and Allen and Ramos are no longer with the organization.
9/4/20: Signed RHP Pedro Strop to a minor league deal, added him to the CPP and assigned him to the ATS. CPP at a full 60.
Strop was released by the Reds earlier this season after he walked 6 batters over 4 games and 2.1 IP. The Cubs, who are familiar with Strop because he spent the last 6 years with the club are taking another flier to see if he might be able to help the back of the bullpen.
ACTIVE ROSTER (28)
Starters (4): Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester (L), Alec Mills
Relievers (10): Jason Adam, Jeremy Jeffress, Craig Kimbrel, Josh Osich (L), Colin Rea, Kyle Ryan (L), Ryan Tepera, Duane Underwood, Jr., Rowan Wick, Dan Winkler
POSITION PLAYERS (14)
Catchers (2): Victor Caratini (S), Willson Contreras
Infielders (7): Javier Baez, David Bote, Kris Bryant, Nico Hoerner, Jason Kipnis (L), Jose Martinez, Anthony Rizzo (L)
Outfielders (5): Ian Happ (S), Jason Heyward (L), Cameron Maybin, Kyle Schwarber (L), Steven Souza, Jr.
10-Day IL (3)
LHP Andrew Chafin, RHP Tyler Chatwood, LHP Jose Quintana
45-Day IL (3)
RHP James Norwood, LHP Brad Wieck, IF Daniel Descalso
ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (28)
Optioned Players (7): RHP Adbert Alzolay, LHP Rex Brothers, RHP Dillon Maples, RHP Tyson Miller, LHP Justin Steele, C Miguel Amaya, OF Albert Almora, Jr.
Non-roster Players (21): RHP Cory Abbott, LHP Burl Carraway, RHP Jharel Cotton, LHP Matt Dermody, RHP Juan Gamez, LHP Danny Hultzen, LHP Brailyn Marquez, RHP Trevor Megill, RHP Dakota Mekkes, LHP Jack Patterson, RHP Michael Rucker, RHP Keegan Thompson, C P.J. Higgins, C Jose Lobaton, C Josh Phegley, IF Christopher Morel, IF Hernan Perez, IF Patrick Wisdom, OF Brennen Davis, OF Ryan LaMarre, OF Ian Miller
*Note that RHP Manuel Rodriguez is on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, but is not part of the 60-man Club Player Pool.
8/31/20: Optioned 1B Will Craig to the ATS. Activated IF Colin Moran from the 7-day IL.
9/1/20: Optioned OF Jason Martin and RHP Brandon Waddell to the ATS. Recalled 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes from the ATS. Activated OF Anthony Alford onto the active roster.
9/2/20: Optioned UT Jose Osuna to the ATS. Designated RHP Carson Fulmer for assignment. Activated RHP Joe Musgrove from the 10-day IL. Activated OF Bryan Reynolds from the paternity leave list. 40-man roster at 39, CPP at 57.
The most notable things here are first, that the club has finally decided to give Ke’Bryan Hayes a shot to play 3B. Hayes was slowed by a COVID-19 diagnosis in summer camp. The club lost Phillip Evans for the season after a collision with a fellow player. With the club then preferring to use Colin Moran as a DH or 1B because of his defense, the playing time at 3B has gone to Erik Gonzalez, JT Riddle and Jose Osuna, and none of them have hit at all. Gonzalez has been the best of the lot with his doubles pop and .449 SLG, but even he hasn’t got on base at a .300 clip. The other 2 guys have been complete ciphers at the plate. Hayes’s calling card is his defense, but it would be hard for him to do much worse than the other people the club has played there.
It’s very strange that out of all the relievers the club has with minor league options available, they decided to ditch Fulmer so fast. The club claimed Fulmer on waivers on August 24th and activated him onto the active roster on August 29th. But he didn’t pitch at all during the four days he was on the roster and the club has now dumped him.
With Musgrove’s return, it looks like Derek Holland, who has been struggling, is being moved to the bullpen.
9/3/20: Added RHP Quinn Priester to the CPP and assigned him to the ATS. CPP at 58.
Priester, who will turn 20 in about 2 weeks, was the club’s 1st round draft choice in 2019. He is just going to the ATS to get some work. He pitched 9 games last year, starting in the Gulf Coast League and ending with 1 start in Short-Season A.
9/4/20: Added RHP Cody Ponce as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader and returned him to the ATS after the 2nd game.
ACTIVE ROSTER (28)
Starters (5): Steven Brault (L), JT Brubaker, Chad Kuhl, Joe Musgrove, Trevor Williams
Relievers (10): Tyler Bashlor, Kyle Crick, Geoff Hartlieb, Derek Holland (L), Sam Howard (L), Dovydas Neverauskas, Richard Rodriguez, Chris Stratton, Nick Tropeano, Nik Turley (L)
POSITION PLAYERS (13)
Catchers (2): John Ryan Murphy, Jacob Stallings
Infielders (7): Josh Bell (S), Adam Frazier (L), Erik Gonzalez, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Colin Moran (L), Kevin Newman, JT Riddle (L)
Outfielders (4): Anthony Alford, Gregory Polanco (L), Bryan Reynolds (S), Cole Tucker (S)
10-Day IL (3)
RHP Keone Kela, RHP Mitch Keller, RHP Yacksel Rios
COVID-19 Related IL (1)
LHP Austin Davis
45-Day IL (8)
RHP Chris Archer, RHP Nick Burdi, RHP Michael Feliz, RHP Clay Holmes, RHP Jameson Taillon, C Luke Maile, IF Phillip Evans, OF Kevin Kramer
ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (26)
Optioned Players (8): RHP Blake Cederlind, RHP Nick Mears, RHP Cody Ponce, RHP Brandon Waddell, 1B Will Craig, SS Oneil Cruz, UT Jose Osuna, OF Jason Martin
Non-roster Players (18): RHP Cody Bolton, LHP Miguel Del Pozo, RHP Max Kranick, RHP James Marvel, LHP Braeden Ogle, RHP Quinn Priester, RHP Aaron Shortridge, C Christian Kelley, C Deon Stafford, 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
*There is a minor discrepancy involving the Pirates’ Club Player Pool. I never saw any official notification that Miguel Del Pozo had been removed from the Pool after being outrighted from the 40-man, but he is not listed on the “Non-Roster Invitee” page on the Pirates’ website. I still have him listed here. Note also that I am including RHP Jameson Taillon as part of the CPP total of 58, but not in the total at the ATS, because he’s not available. Although he has been on the 60-day IL the entire time, he was still named to the Pirates’ CPP during summer camp so he could work out, and I have never seen any notification that he has been removed.
8/31/20: Traded UT Josh VanMeter and OF Stuart Fairchild to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Archie Bradley and cash considerations. Traded LHP Packy Naughton and a player to be named later to the Los Angeles Angels for OF Brian Goodwin. Optioned RHP Joel Kuhnel to the ATS. Recalled OF Aristides Aquino from the ATS. Released RHP Pedro Strop. 40-man roster full. CPP still at 57.
VanMeter busted out at AAA last season with a .329 ISO and an OPS of almost 1.100, and offered positional flexibility. He hit a little worse than league average last season in his first taste of the majors while filling on defense all over the diamond. But all of the Reds’ offseason acquisitions buried VanMeter on the depth chart, and when the Reds put him in this year, mostly when Mike Moustakas was absent, he slashed .059/.158/.176 in 38 PA with a double, a home run, 3 walks and 16 strikeouts. Fairchild was the club’s 2nd round draft choice in 2017, and is a center fielder that’s most likely blocked by Nick Senzel. He dramatically reduced his strikeout rate in a brief stint at AA that was almost 10% lower than he had ever had at any level.
Bradley was drafted #7 overall by the Diamondbacks in 2011 out of high school, luring him with a $5 million signing bonus to get him to back out of his commitment to play quarterback for the University of Oklahoma. Initially projected to be a starter, the Diamondbacks converted him to a setup man in 2017 after his control didn’t come around like they hoped it would. He took over as the closer last season for Greg Holland and converted 18 out of 19 save opportunities down the stretch, but posted a double digit walk rate, the worst of his career since his rookie season. So far this season over 11 games, he’s posted the best FIP and K/BB ratio of his career in spite of a preposterous .441 BABIP allowed and an abnormally high line drive rate. David Bell has said that Raisel Iglesias will remain the closer for now, but the club hopes that Bradley will shore up a bullpen that has been one of the worst in the game this season. The 28-year old Bradley had one minor league option going into this season, but he has already earned enough service time this year to bring him to the point where he now can’t be optioned without his consent. Goodwin won a $4.1 million salary in arbitration going into this season. He’s still arbitration eligible, and at this rate, he will be eligible for free agency after the 2021 season.
Naughton was a soft-tossing control artist/changeup specialist left-handed starter who spent most of last season at AA. He was flipped for Goodwin, who was originally a Competitive Balance Round pick by the Nationals in 2011. At one time considered a 5-tool player and the center fielder of the future in the Nationals organization, he lost his prospect shine as he struggled to hit in the high minors. He broke into the big leagues for a brief period in 2016, but could never get beyond fourth or fifth outfielder status. Like many prospects, he had the problem of striking out too much without the power or on-base skills to compensate. And while he provides flexibility in terms of theoretically being able to play all 3 outfield positions, his defense is not so strong as to make you want to start him. Goodwin was traded to the Royals in July of 2018 and then claimed on waivers by the Angels in spring training of 2019. He did well in part-time duty with the Angels last year, slugging .470 with 17 homers. This year so far with the Angels, he got a little bit of playing time in right field, but appeared at the plate in 30 games, showing extra base power, while still striking out a ton.
Where Goodwin fits on the Reds roster is unclear. Nick Castellanos has a lock on the right field job. With Nick Senzel being out for an extended period of time with the COVID-19 virus, Shogo Akiyama has been getting the lion’s share of the time in center field, but has struggled to hit. Goodwin is also left handed, so he doesn’t really make a good platoon partner for anyone. Against right-handed pitching, it looks like the Reds will use Jesse Winker at DH, put Goodwin in center and move Akiyama to left. Once Senzel comes back, perhaps performance will sort itself out.
Both Bradley and Goodwin had to be added to the 40-man roster. VanMeter was a 1 for 1 swap, and there was an extra space because of the DFA of Phillip Ervin. Neither Fairchild nor Naughton was on the 40-man roster, so it is now full. Strop had been designated for assignment earlier, so his formal release did not affect the total. Naughton was not on the Reds’ Club Player Pool before, so he technically had to be added before he could be traded. But because the Reds had plenty of space, this did not affect the CPP total. The Reds will have to remove 2 players from the active roster to accommodate Bradley and Goodwin whenever they report to the club.
9/1/20: Optioned OF Mark Payton and RHP Jose De Leon to the ATS. Activated OF Brian Goodwin and RHP Archie Bradley onto the active roster. OF Jesse Winker serving a 1-game suspension tonight and the Reds will play with a 27-man roster tonight.
9/2/20: Activated OF Jesse Winker from the MLB suspended list. Active roster back at 28.
9/3/20: Noted the loss of OF Phillip Ervin to the Seattle Mariners on an outright assignment wavier claim.
9/4/20: Added RHP Jose De Leon as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader and returned him to the ATS after the 2nd game.
ACTIVE ROSTER (28)
Starters (5): Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle
Relievers (9): Tejay Antone, Archie Bradley, Amir Garrett (L), Raisel Iglesias, Nate Jones, Michael Lorenzen, Lucas Sims, Robert Stephenson, Tyler Thornburg
POSITION PLAYERS (14)
Catchers (2): Tucker Barnhart (L), Curt Casali
Infielders (7): Matt Davidson, Kyle Farmer, Freddy Galvis (S), Jose Garcia, Mike Moustakas (L), Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto (L)
Outfielders (5): Shogo Akiyama (L), Aristides Aquino, Nick Castellanos, Brian Goodwin (L), Jesse Winker (L)
10-Day IL (2)
LHP Jesse Biddle, LHP Wade Miley
COVID-19 Related IL (1)
CF Nick Senzel
45-Day IL (1)
RHP Matt Bowman
ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE (27)
Optioned Players (10): RHP Jose De Leon, RHP Ryan Hendrix, RHP Joel Kuhnel, RHP Tony Santillan, C Tyler Stephenson, IF Alex Blandino, IF Robel Garcia, OF Travis Jankowski, OF Mark Payton, OF Nick Williams
Non-roster Players (17): RHP R.J. Alaniz, RHP David Carpenter, LHP Brandon Finnegan, RHP Hunter Greene, RHP Jay Jackson, LHP Nick Lodolo, RHP Riley O’Brien, RHP Alex Powers, LHP Sal Romano, C Mark Kolozsvary, C Francisco Pena, IF Christian Colon, IF Rece Hinds, IF Jonathan India, IF Alfredo Rodriguez, OF TJ Friedl, OF Boog Powell