Yesterday the news broke that the Cincinnati Reds claimed right-handed pitcher Kevin Gasuman off of waivers from the Atlanta Braves. The Reds didn’t have to immediately make a 25-man roster move because Gausman had not yet reported to the team. But he’s in Cincinnati today and that means it’s time to make some roster moves. In order to clear the spot on the 25-man roster, the Reds optioned left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta to Triple-A Louisville.
For Kevin Gausman, he’ll be joining the bullpen for the Reds. He pitched out of the rotation in Atlanta, but there’s no room for him in Cincinnati’s starting five. He’ll look to work with pitching coach Derek Johnson and find some improvements in his new role with the team.
With Wandy Peralta, he’s currently sitting with an ERA of 5.06 on the season. He’s thrown 32.0 innings across 37 games, allowed seven home runs, walked 14 batters, and he’s struck out 26 batters. His walk rate is higher than you’d like it to be. His strikeout rate is lower than you want it to be. And his home run rate is a lot higher than you’d like for it to be.
The left-handed Peralta has improved some over where he was in 2018. Last season he had as many walks as strikeouts. The walks have come down significantly, but still could use some improvement. And his strikeout rate is up, but still much lower than even an average relievers. Heading back to Louisville to work on improving in these areas would seem to be a good place to focus.
This set of moves does leave Amir Garrett as the only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen for the Reds. And he’s going to serve his suspension soon enough. He’s appealing now, but even if he does win his appeal, it’ll just be a reduction in the number of games he has to miss. With that said, Peralta doesn’t really do much against left-handed hitters. This season they are hitting him better than righties are.
With Amir Garrett still active, this may not be an immediate issue. But where the Reds will turn against strong left-handed hitters when he’s serving his suspension will be interesting to see. The team recently picked up Tim Collins on a minor league contract. The lefty is in Triple-A, but he’s not on the 40-man roster and would needed to be added if that’s the kind of move they chose to make. Between Triple-A and the Majors this season he’s held lefties to a .157/.254/.314 line with 7 walks and 15 strikeouts in 59 plate appearances.
Another option, though less traditional, if they are going to bring up someone not on the 40-man roster, would be Joel Kuhnel. He’s a big right-hander, listed at 6′ 5″ and 260 lbs. He’s dominated in both Double-A and Triple-A this season, posting a 2.10 ERA in 51.1 innings with 15 walks and 49 strikeouts. While he’s not a lefty, he’s dominated them this season. They are hitting .173/.233/.272 against him with 7 walks (3 are intentional) and 18 strikeouts in 90 plate appearances. And he’s a guy that should be viewed as a viable bullpen option moving forward, too. He’s throwing in the 95-98 MPH range, touching triple-digits, and has a very good secondary offering.