In a series of roster moves today, the Reds claimed claimed outfielder Gabriel Guerrero (Diamondbacks) and catcher Juan Graterol (Angels) off waivers. In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Guerrero and Graterol, the Reds designated catcher Ramon Cabrera and pitcher Keyvius Sampson for assignment.
Guerrero will turn 23 in a couple of weeks, and he’s noted for two things: he has a ton of raw ability and he’s the nephew of Vladimir Guerrero. Like his famous uncle, Guerrero swings at everything. Unlike Vlad, Guerrero hasn’t hit for any power since rising above A-ball. I guess I can squint and see a fourth outfielder here; he’s still young with tools that make the scouts drool. If I squint harder, I see Yorman Rodriguez. If he’s going to have a chance at a real career, Guerrero needs to hurry up and get on with it.
Juan Graterol will be 28 next year, and he’s spent the last decade bouncing around the Royals, Yankees, and Angels systems. From a quick look at their respective minor league statistics, I can’t see why the Reds think he’s any better than the 27 year old guy he’s replacing, Ramon Cabrera. Then again, Cabrera isn’t really a big league catcher either, so I’ll just assume the Cincinnati scouting reports give them reason to believe Graterol has a chance to stick as a backup catcher. I can’t imagine Cabrera will be claimed off waivers, and he’s likely to accept the demotion to Triple-A, so at least the Reds might gain a little organizational depth at the position.
The interesting move here is seeing Keyvius Sampson designated for assignment. Perhaps the Reds think he will clear waivers. From my vantage point, I’d be surprised if another team didn’t take a flyer on him. Sampson has a live arm and has shown reason for optimism at various times (including a pretty good stretch for Louisville this past season). On the other hand, he’ll be 26 soon, and if the Reds lose him, what have they lost? Sampson’s ceiling is probably fifth-starter; more likely, he could develop into a useful reliever. But then, this Reds bullpen is so good, they don’t need more useful relievers, right?
All in all, not much to see here, just some organizational reshuffling. Maybe, just maybe, Guerrero will turn into something worth getting excited about.