2016 Reds

John Lamb traded to Tampa Bay

John Lamb

So long, John Lamb. We barely knew you.

The Cincinnati Reds have traded Lamb to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player named Cash Considerations. I can’t find any information on him, but he must be good if the Reds gave up Lamb for him.

As for Lamb, I was hoping to see if he could develop into a credible big league pitcher, most likely in the bullpen. Unfortunately, he’s had a run of bad luck and bad performance:

The 26-year-old Lamb was one of three left-handers that the Reds acquired from the Royals in 2015’s Johnny Cueto blockbuster. Once touted as one of the top 20 prospects in all of baseball by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, Lamb’s stock has dropped precipitously over the years due to multiple injuries. In addition to the two back surgeries to repair herniated disks, Lamb also underwent Tommy John surgery as a minor leaguer and missed nearly two full seasons as a result. He’s pitched with the Reds in each of the past two seasons but has struggled in the Majors, posting a combined 6.17 ERA with 8.7 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 119 2/3 innings.

You never like to give up on lefties with potential, but the Reds ran into a roster crunch that ultimately ended with Lamb being designated for assignment. Losing Lamb is tough for us here at Redleg Nation, and not because I think he’s going to be a great big leaguer — I wouldn’t bet the ranch on that. But we’ll really miss all the dumb jokes about Lamb’s yellow Trans Am and his REO Speedwagon t-shirts.

News of the trade brought a predictable reaction on Twitter:

The Reds “gave away” Johnny Cueto for Lamb, Brandon Finnegan, and Cody Reed. Finnegan made great strides in his first full season as a starter. While Cody Reed struggled in the big leagues as a rookie, he dominated in the minors and remains one of the top prospects in the Reds organization. Both are 23 years old.

In exchange for those guys, the Royals got half a season of Cueto. That’s it.

We can argue all day about whether the Reds should have broken the bank to sign Cueto to another contract extension, rather than dealing him away. I’m as sentimental as the next guy, and I wish Cueto were still a Red. I’ll listen to that argument (even if I don’t agree with it). But don’t act like the Reds got fleeced in the Cueto trade. From where I stand, it looks like the Reds got pretty good value in return.

With or without John Lamb.

32 thoughts on “John Lamb traded to Tampa Bay

    • For a guy coming off of his 2nd back surgery inside of a year and who finished the season on the DL with a flexor mass issue and has already had one TJ surgery, what more might they expect?

        • The Reds have enough warm bodies in the organization. So many, in fact, that they’re getting rid of guys left and right.

          They only need to acquire someone new if he has a chance to be a contributor. No need for minor league filler.

  1. I always wonder just how much money is involved in “cash considerations”. I suspect often (and likely in this case) that it is probably a drop in the bucket greater than the waiver claim fee. This way the Reds don’t (quite) have to own up to basically giving the guy away while the Rays are assured somebody else didn’t claim him ahead of them. Or if the Reds made 1st contact, “cash considerations” may be considerably less than the waiver fee even…..

    • I believe the Rays did claim him. At which point the Reds could have pulled him back, but then would have had to DFA someone else, assuming they didn’t have or want to burn a 40-man spot. Using that as leverage they extracted some cash from Tampa.

      I’m surprised that he got claimed. Two back surgeries and out of options, seems like a waste of a 40-man slot during the off season.

  2. The guy was DFA’d. Best case we get a player to be named later, more than likely a no named prospect. Worse case the rays claim him on waivers and we get nothing. We traded him for cash….. so what?

  3. Lamb was pretty far down the depth chart, and coming off surgery. I have no problem with letting him go. And the Reds didn’t give Cueto away. They weren’t going to the playoffs if he played out the season in Cincinnati, and they weren’t going to resign him. So in my book they got (quite a bit of) something for nothing, not the other way round. And I do expect Finnegan and Reed to provide real value as Reds. Nothing to see here.

  4. I’m shocked they announced this major trade so close to the beginning of game 7. I hope its excitement doesn’t make that game seem dull.

  5. No big loss trading Lamb. Pitching depth along with his injuries made him expendable. Can “cash” pitch out of the bullpen?

  6. Wow, Joe Maddon escaped a Chicago tar and feathering with the tenth inning win. How can a man who is supposedly a baseball genius take out Hendricks in the FOURTH inning when he is cruising along in complete control of the Indians ? He took him out after a walk and the replay showed it was without a doubt a strikeout ! (Ump Sam Holbrook also had a bad night) Then Maddon unbelievably pulls Lester and puts in Chapman who is notorious for blowing games ! We could NOT BELIEVE these moves when he made them ! Skin of his teeth is the way Maddon made it out of Cleveland !

    • Reasonable people can argue that Maddon over used Chapman in game 6 and therefore created a problem using him in game 7.

      No reasonable person can argue that Chapman is notorious for blowing saves unless you believe that 21 blown saves in 203 opportunities is bad.

  7. I liked Lamb a lot! I think this is a mistake but he does have a difficult time staying healthy. Still though…how many pitchers (including Rockies) have gone 7ip with 1 er or better in Coors Field? I think he can atleast be a pretty good loogy with that slow curve if he can stay healthy. I wish him luck!

  8. I don’t like to see Lamb go, but that is the business. A 40-man roster spot crunch on the Reds before the Rule V draft. It happens. However, with the lack of LH arms in the Reds bullpen and minor league system, it makes a move this winter necessary to obtain a lefty or 2 for the bullpen.
    Best of luck to John Lamb. We’ll probably see him in the Rays bullpen in the second half of next season.
    The World Series is over and the free agent period starts tomorrow I believe when players can start filing with MLB.

    • I think the plan with Lamb was probably to follow the same path they took with Donald Lutz after he had TJ surgery back in 2015 (or so). Release him off the 40 man roster which would make him an MLB FA and then at some point in the future sign him back to a minor league deal. Quite possibly there was even an “understanding” this would happen all things being equal. Then one way or another Tampa became involved. Maybe Lamb’s agent was looking for a post release landing spot and got them in on things. Maybe the Rays were interested on their own accord. Regardless, the “trade” was then arranged because it looks better all around than a release.

      • Meant to add that I am going to try to remember to keep an eye on this and see how it develops from here with Tampa.

        • Me too. I like to check in on former Reds from time to time that are now in other organizations.
          I think the Reds gambled that no team would put in a waiver claim for Lamb after the surgery. I think you are right about the Reds having an agreement with Lamb that they would sign him back. His surgery this time around was more public, announced even by the Reds. Like the Reds wanted all the teams to know about it. Last winter his surgery wasn’t known until well after the fact. But, then the Rays made the Reds have a change of plans. Oh well.
          By the way, the Rays AAA team is the Durham Bulls. I like the Rays a little also, but nothing like the Reds. I have friends in the Tampa and Orlando areas, so we catch a Rays game once in awhile when in FL.

  9. Bryan Price was also quite unhappy with the effort Lamb gave during a rehab start last season. And for Price to go public with that, it makes me wonder whether that wasn’t the first time he was questioning Lamb’s work ethic. That could have hurt his chances to stay in the organization.

    • Lamb was also the guy who said he had never watched film or studied opposing hitters in preparation for a start until this past summer.

  10. Cash considerations. Tampa Bay: not known as a particularly affluent organization.

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