The Cincinnati Reds made some roster moves today:

So John Lamb has been designated for assignment. Lamb is out of options, but with the lefty having undergone recent back surgery, I would think that there’s a pretty good chance that he won’t be claimed and will stick around in the Reds organization.

Ariel Hernandez is a 24-year old right-handed pitcher who was pitching in independent ball as recently as last year. He has some upside, though:

While Hernandez posted just a 6.04 ERA in 22 1/3 innings in the Arizona system in 2015, the Reds saw something they liked and picked him up in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft and were rewarded for that show of faith. While Hernandez was old to be pitching in the Class-A Midwest League and Class-A Advanced Florida State League, the combined 2.18 ERA, 10.7 K/9 rate and 54.6 percent ground-ball rate he compiled are nonetheless impressive. Control appears to be an issue, as he did average 5.7 walks per nine innings. Scouting reports on the right-hander are scarce, though Baseball America did list him as a “rising” prospect in the Cincinnati system in July, noting that he’s still “way too wild” but possesses one of baseball’s best fastball/curveball combos and has drawn some 80 grades from scouts on both pitches (BA subscription required and recommended).

Doug Gray has more on Hernandez here.

Lots of roster moves and decisions yet to come. Stay tuned.

32 Responses

  1. ohiojimw

    Not too surprised on Lamb. I thought the splash they made with the surgery announcement several days ago after doing similar surgery under cover last year somewhat tipped their likely intent. Now we just wait and see what if anything transpires with him on the waiver wire.

      • ohiojimw

        Since this broke, I’ve been doing some research on waivers. If my sources are correct; and, Lamb was still on the MiLB DL, I think they will actually have to release him (assuming he goes unclaimed) rather than outright him (see the embedded chart and notes on the link below)

        Moving to supposition on my part….. I would guess since he was on option, his post release status would be as an MLB free agent as opposed to a minor league free agent. I see two points arising from this. First, Lamb would be free to sign any type of contract with any team. Secondly, unless and until he signs a minor league contract, by virtue of being an MLB free agent, he isn’t subject to the Rule 5 draft.

        So, this could well turn out to be a situation like Donald Lutz ‘s situation following surgery and subsequent release in 2015. Lamb will still be involved with the Reds medical staff and at a convenient time for the Reds and himself could end up signing back on via a minor league. Or he could alternately sign a MLB or minor league deal with any team.

    • Scotly50

      Think the Royals may pick him back up? They know him as well as the Reds.

  2. Daytonian

    This is a stunner. Lamb has too much potential to be so exposed. Let’s hope that you are right and the surgery scares off other takers. But I would not be surprised if another team looks at the potential and takes the risk.

  3. Old-school

    So lamb and moscot are not pitching for the Reds in 2017. The next pieces to fall are what??? do the Reds sign a lefty reliever out of the gate in FA? That would be a logical time to announce ST roles for Iglesias and lorenzen as well… cozart traded at GM meetings in December? What about BP….how do u have reds fest and have that issue still percolating? does Williams solve the BP issue early to introduce and highlight the young new guys at Reds fest? Or does he let BP take center stage???? Homer and Mesoraco will be ST answers…..unless the reds sign a FA catcher.

  4. Scott Carter

    I understand DFA ing Lamb. It is a risk but not much of one. What I don’t understand is putting Hernandez on 40 man roster. Was there any danger in losing him if they didn’t? Does not seem likely.

    • Chad Dotson

      I think it was almost 100% that someone would have claimed Hernandez in the Rule 5 draft.

      • gaffer

        Look at the John Sickles article on BA, yes he would have.

  5. jessecuster44

    Looks like Lamb and Cody Reed now have potential to be “busts.” That Cueto trade… not looking so great now.

    • MrRed

      Really? Was Cueto going to help the Reds lose only 93 games instead of 98 in the last few months of his contract here? It’s not like the Reds were going to resign him. If one of these guys works out, they Reds will have done well.

      And I wouldn’t call either of these guys “busts.” Reed went from AA to MLB in less than a season. He’ll be fine. It wouldn’t surprise me either if Lamb makes it back to the MLB with the Reds or another team.

      There’s plenty of room for angst but I don’t think this is one of those areas.

      • ohiojimw

        I agree that if one of the three received for Cueto “works out” or is flipped for someone who does the Reds will have done well for two months of JC which is essentially what they traded away.

        Also all we really know about Lamb is that the Reds saw the risks involved with him as greater than his value in terms of a 40 man spot over this off season. If he recovers sufficiently, he could well reemerge as a MLB property.

    • Satchmo

      Given that we had 1) no shot at winning during Cueto’s last year and 2) no shot at resigning Cueto, a straight up Cueto for Finnegan trade would have been a good deal for the both teams. They got their WS flag; we got a solid starter under our control for three years. If Lamb or Reed work out, that’s just gravy.

    • KetteringRedsFan

      Nonsense. Jury still out on Reed…and even Lamb…for at least one more year.

      More importantly…..Finnegan.

      If the Reds have obtained one quality rotation starter at a controlled price, the deal is positive. Anything more would, of course, be very welcome, but if Finnegan pans out the deal -is- a net positive. Especially since the chance of retaining Cueto had absolutely zero probability.

      • jessecuster44

        Nonsense? Lamb has had multiple back surgeries and Reed has looked completely overmatched. Considering how many people said the Cueto trade was a HUGE win? Because of Finnegan, the trade may be a net positive, but if your net for a top-five pitcher is one serviceable starter? That’s a smaller win than I would like. Still, better than the Chapman trade.

      • KetteringRedsFan

        The odds are a lot longer/against Lamb, I’ll grant. But non-zero. Reed may yet pan out … but they are both young and it will take another season or season-and-a-half before final results are in on that. I’m personally not betting on -either- of them, but I tend to take role of the house (chuckle)..

        The other reminder: the net positive is not merely one starting pitcher for another. It’s also the payroll space created by swapping out Johnny C’s salary for a player under control currently and for a few years prospectively.

        Not every deal can be a steal, even though we aspire so. At the end of the day, good enough -is- good enough. Particularly when you are small market. That payroll space buys a -lot- of player development time and players to use that time to develop. As a rule, the Reds are not likely to improve -strategically- through players obtained In trades although individual trades will ring marginal, near-term progress.

        IMHO and YMMV, of course.

      • greenmtred

        They were trading two months of Cueto, Jesse. The other teams aren’t dumb. And don’t you think it’s too early to give up on–particularly–Reed? He’s a lefty power pitcher with good stuff and he’s young.

      • MrRed

        Jess, love your passion but yes, this was nonsense. The Reds will get something for nothing out of this trade. I think all 3 of these guys will contribute meaningful innings for the Reds. Will any of them be as good as Cueto? No. But they don’t have to be. The Reds will pay them the minimum and, in my opinion, each will add positive value as a starter or bullpen piece for the team.

      • jessecuster44

        Lamb traded for cash. That’s a bust, folks.

      • gaffer

        I disagree that “two months” of Cueto means you don’t expect much back. Look what other teams have gotten for similar (see Aroldis Chapman, Greinke, etc, etc, etc). Heck, the Tigers got the ROY this year for 2 months of Cespedes! The question is whether the Reds got good value, not whether Cueto had value.

      • Michael Mayne

        I was neutral on the trade at the time. I thought they could have gotten a top prospect, instead of 3 that weren’t top prospects. Quality over quantity is always preferred.

        As noted, many a rental trade brought back top 3 prospect from the other org. We never seem to get back a prospect that is “elite” in potential. I think the Reds could have a 27 year old Babe Ruth and somehow manage to only get a #5, #10 and #12 prospect, none of which are considered future all-stars.

        Then you see trades, like Cespedes, Shelby Miller (not a rental, but nothing special either), bring back Elite level prospects and you shake your head.

        I feel like Jocketty started negotiations with “well, we don’t expect to get much, but…” Other GMs, probably hem and haw after that, whining about top 5 prospects untouchable, but hey, “how about some 24 and 25 year old AA players with future SP4/5 upside? Three of them add up to better than a stud ace Walt.”

        “Hey, yeah, you’re right, lets do it!”

      • ohiojimw

        Finnegan was the #17 overall draft pick in 2014. Reed was the #46 overall draft pick in 2013. That’s two top 50 picks, both 22-23 years old when the Reds got them. At the time of the trade, both projected as future impact players barring injury. Finnegan was around 20 picks better than the comp pick the Reds would have gotten had kept Cueto and QOed him. Reed less than 10 picks lower than the potential comp pick. Lamb was a lower draftee (5th round 2008) guy who after missing most of 2011-12 with TJ surgery looked to be MLB rotation ready based on his AAA numbers from 2015. That’s a good haul for a 2 month rental player who as a rotation pitcher is going to make maybe 15 appearances for his new team.

  6. Scott Carter

    Thanks Chad for the update. I think that if one of the three pitchers pan out for Cueto, then the Reds made a good trade, but I think it is way to early to be saying that Lamb and Reed are busts.

  7. WVRedlegs

    Since the announcement of Lamb’s surgery, this isn’t totally unexpected. The risk in losing Lamb to a waiver pickup is minimal. He’ll stay in the system and hopefully can be a contributor in the second half of 2017.
    Chad, congratulations to you and Chris on your book being named a #1 seller on Amazon. When is the first book signing?

    • Steve Mancuso

      I’m sure there will be stops in West Virginia!

  8. Matt WI

    Devin Mesoraco is off the DL! Huzzzah! Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that it’s the last time in a long time.

    • lwblogger2

      *Fingers crossed* The Reds really need Devin and Homer to be healthy. Small market teams just can’t have that much $$ sitting on the DL. They don’t need to be starts but they need to play and be relatively productive.

      • WVRedlegs

        Toes are crossed too. Two key players that are needed as healthy players, and as leaders. They are the vets now.

  9. Bill

    according to mlbtraderumors Lamb has been traded to the Rays for cash