The Cincinnati Reds have announced that they’ve made several roster moves today. They have outrighted infielders Christian Colon and Derek Dietrich, as well as pitchers Keury Mella and Jackson Stephens to Triple-A Louisville. This means that all four players were placed on waivers and cleared them.

Those four moves put the Reds at 35 players on their 40-man roster. They will need a spot or three for players that they will be adding to the roster later this month to protect them from the Rule 5 draft (we’ll cover this later in the month as things get closer). But with the start of free agency upon us, they may need some spots soon for signings, too.

Derek Dietrich had a big start to the season. On June 2nd he went 1-4 with a double and finished the day with a .269/.373/.700 line. But from that point forward he went into a huge slump. In the final 57 games of the year he hit .099/.283/.207 with just two home runs. Dietrich would undergo shoulder surgery during the last week of the regular season.

Christian Colon didn’t spend much time in the Major Leagues this season. When rosters expanded in September he wasn’t initially called up after hitting .300/.372/.443 with Triple-A Louisville. But on September 16th with the roster in need of another infielder the Reds called him up to fill out the bench. Colon only played in eight games, going 3-6 and he was hit by two pitches.

Much like Christian Colon, Keury Mella didn’t spend much time in Cincinnati this season. He did get called up in early September, though, joining the Reds on September 3rd. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher didn’t pitch for nearly three weeks before taking the mound on the 20th. Mella would only pitch in one more game on the year, throwing 2.2 shutout innings with four strikeouts on the 25th.

For Jackson Stephens his 2019 wasn’t like the rest of the group. But it wasn’t much different than that of Mella or Colon. Stephens spent his entire season in Triple-A Louisville. Unlike the previously two mentioned players he did not get called up in September after posting a 5.14 ERA in 84.0 innings for the Bats – pitching in 47 games.

38 Responses

  1. Scott C

    All four of those moves make sense. Ultimately that should make our 40 man roster all that better. Dietrich really has no future in Cincinnati. He is a bat first player and a liability in the field, particularly in OF and coming off shoulder surgery it may take his bat awhile to come around. Colon is a good AAAA player but shouldn’t take up a roster spot. Stephens is Minor league filler and Mella may make a decent relief pitcher down the road but not enough to warrant a 40 man spot.

  2. AirborneJayJay

    Nothing unexpected here.
    New era starting with the Cubs. They aren’t brining Morrow back as closer, so they will need one. A bold intra division trade could be had maybe. Reds need a LH hitter with some pop.
    Raisel Iglesias for Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber could very well be an odd man out in Chicago.

    • Big Ed

      That trade would have the additional benefit of sending Thom into eternal ecstasy, unable to simmer down enough to broadcast.

    • Curt

      I like that he grew up a Reds fan in Middleton OH. Still 26, 27 in March. Had a descent 2019 at the plate but most errors in LF. Not sure if he needs to be platooned? Does have some good pop though from the left side. Would be an upgrade over DD off the bench, good pinch hitter, 4th OF or if they move Winker, slide in there. Does have a WS ring fwiw (leadership skills?)

      That said, I feel like Iggy should bring back more than just Schwarber. Maybe I’m wrong.

      • Curt

        @Jon: every time he pitched yes. Wasn’t always pretty was it? Dodgers had the exact same problem with Kenley Jansen. Once dominant, not anymore. Happens all the time. Don’t think it means their careers are over, maybe, but probably just need fixing or a change of roles/scenery. Could become great set-up guys. Like I said, maybe I’m wrong thinking Iggy has more value than Schwarber. In fact more I think about it, an even swap might be realistic. I don’t see Schwarber’s value as higher though, esp. not for the Reds. IMHO

  3. jeff euchler

    Any thoughts on Thames being released? He should be cheap and would be nice insurance for Aquino if he struggles or backup for Votto. With cutting him loose and the even more the Anderson trade I wonder if the Brewers aren’t looking to take a step back and do a little rebuilding. Plainly they don’t think they can compete with the Reds juggernaut next season.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I’d be more interested in checking in on Kole Calhoun as a LH option to split time with Aquino in RF. 108 OPS+ and 2.3 WAR in 2019. Seems like he’d fit well. From what I understand he’s a good defender too.

      • Curt

        Agree, but he’d be a pricey RF platoon. He won’t cost the 14mil anymore but I bet he gets 7-8mil/yr. If they’re looking to platoon Aquino, might as well just use O’Grady. He’s the same guy minus the experience for 500k. Also RF is best place for O’Grady if he can’t play 1B.

  4. Hotto4Votto

    Honestly, I never really cared for Mella as a prospect. I didn’t think he was enough to be the headliner in the Mike Leake deal, and at the time I had pegged him as a future reliever at best. In hindsight, Duvall was the much better player in that deal even though he was more of a throw-in.

    None of these moves are surprising. I am a little surprised that Alaniz made the cut so far, or even Josh D. Smith. I thought they’d be roster fodder. Now let’s see who’s non-tendered. Still guessing they can’t tender Gausman, who’s set to make over $10m, to be a mid-leverage reliever. I wouldn’t tender Schebler coming off shoulder issues either. Peraza’s a tougher case due to his youth, but how many times is the guy going to lose his starter spot before the Reds cut bait there?

    • Ohiojimw

      I agree Schebler is a guy to keep an eye on. He also has the service time to walk if outrighted. The nontender route gives them into early December to try and evaluate where he is at physically or try and trade him.
      He is 1st year arb versus last year of arb which makes him cheaper. Not to mention if he is healthy I suppose he would be a fallback CF option if worst comes to be with Senzel not ready at the season’s start. But they picked up Jankowski last week who is also potential CF insurance

  5. DocProc

    Didi Gregorius didn’t get a qualifying offer from the Yanks today. Would love to see the Reds make a run at him (and Grandal).

    • AirborneJayJay

      It makes things a little more palatable for the Reds and more interesting from their perspective. The 10 players that got a qualifying offer are probably not going to be targeted by the Reds. Will Smith getting a QO was a bummer to see.

      • Justin

        Did it make him more attractive to more teams then? I’m guessing it makes him more expensive.

    • Colt Holt

      Honestly, didi with a QO attached could have been beneficial to the reds. Reds lose much less than the high payroll teams do, so taking a higher payroll team out of the equation would have been helpful. Reds would have the inherent benefit in that fact pattern. Now, nobody is deterred from offering market value for him.

  6. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Interesting. If they are outrighting them to the minors, I would believe that means they aren’t going to protect them in the rule 5 draft.

    I was sort of disappointed with the decision of Colon. I always pictured him like a “Miguel Cairo”, a veteran bench player but could give some leadership to the bench, maybe a key pinch hit and/or spot start, etc.

    DD, I’m not too worried about. I just don’t see much there. Sure, he did a lot at the beginning of the season. But, anyone who thought he was going to keep those numbers up throughout the season were living in a dream world.

    Not too worried about Stephens. He never showed much.

    I was hoping Mella would pan out. Especially since we traded Leake for Mella (and Duvall). From what I remember, he was one of the Giants top prospects when we acquired him. But, he simply never quite developed as such.

    Could more FA’s that we thought be a-coming?

    • Ohiojimw

      Yeah, it figures that a reason these guys were moved off the 40 man roster was to help create spots for guys needing first time rule 5 protection. Would be very unusual to see any of these guys back on the 40 man unless they had a big spring and made the 2020 opening day roster

  7. Shchi Cossack

    From Tim Dierkes top 50 FA projections on MLBTR…

    “7. Yasmani Grandal – Reds. Four years, $68MM. In each of the last two years, Grandal has trailed only J.T. Realmuto for the highest WAR among catchers. Grandal is the best-hitting catcher in baseball over the last two seasons with a 123 wRC+, a mark that would look good for a player at any position but is downright Herculean compared to the average catcher’s 84 wRC+ in that time. On the defensive side, Grandal has caught more innings than anyone over the last two seasons and continually rates as one of the game’s best pitch framers.”

    Make it happen!

  8. Shchi Cossack

    Then followed up with…

    “12. Didi Gregorius – Reds. Three years, $42MM. A Curacao native who was born in Amsterdam, Gregorius was a rising shortstop prospect with a rocket arm and below average power when he was sent from the Reds to the Diamondbacks as part of a major three-team deal in December 2012. After a couple of lackluster seasons in Arizona, the Yankees acquired Gregorius in another three-team deal, boldly installing him as Derek Jeter’s replacement. The team was able to unlock Gregorius’ power, as he hit 72 home runs from 2016-18. In 2017-18, Gregorius totaled 8.9 fWAR – third in all of baseball and ahead of Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Javier Baez, Trea Turner, and Carlos Correa. During that time he provided a large impact on both sides of the ball, with a 115 wRC+ and his typical excellent defense. However, Gregorius injured his elbow during the 2018 ALDS, requiring Tommy John surgery in October of that year. He made his 2019 season debut on June 7th.”

    The Old Cossack is less enthusiastic with this possibility after Didi’s marginal performance following his TJ surgery, but if Didi can return to form after a full off season…

    • Michael Smith

      If the reds sign Didi and Grandal it would be hard to say that they are not trying to win.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      This is the big wild card of free agency. Is Didi the player from prior to his TJ surgery or afterward? If he’s the former, he’s one of the prizes of the market. However, the Yankees apparently feel that what they have on their roster is better. I’d love to see the Reds sign him to a one-year deal with a team option year, but it’s likely some other team will offer more than that.

  9. Ohiojimw

    Can’t help but think it is ironic we often complain about the org being tied to the past and hanging onto guys; yet here we are thinking the team should be going in on guys who came up in the org and were traded away while the team kept supposedly better options.

    • TR

      Centering on bringing back former players like Grandal and Gregorius means the Reds, unlike other smaller markets like Oakland and Tampa, find it difficult to move on.

      • greenmtred

        But they aren’t the same players now that they were when the Reds traded them. They were prospects then.

      • TR

        I recall they were in the Bigs when traded and not just prospects. It’s too late now, but it doesn’t reflect well on Red’s evaluators.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Grandal never played in the Bigs for the Reds. In fact, he played just 4 games at AAA and just 45 games at AA for the Reds before he was traded.

        Didi played just 8 games in the Bigs for the Reds during a September callup before he was traded.

      • doofus


        Gregorious and Grandal just happen to be two of the more prominent positional FA’s this offseason that just happened to be former Red’s prospects, not that the Reds find it difficult to move on.

  10. SultanofSwaff

    Gregorius and Grandal would match up with a competitive window the front office has created with the starting pitching and arrival of some prospects. If this comes to pass, I’m pushing my chips in by trading for a CF by offering up India and Ervin plus a sweetener.

  11. David Moore

    Sign Didi and Grandal..

    Trade for Mookie.

  12. David Moore

    Ok Reds… How bad do you wanna keep your fans?

    Sign Didi, Grandal, AND Rendon..

    Trade for Mookie.

    Show us you have a commitment to win that’s equal to that of the fans..

    • Tom Mitsoff

      They are not going to get Rendon. They are absolutely not going to go into the Rendon-Cole-Strasburg contract zone of 10 or so years and 30 or so million per year. And frankly, that may not be a bad idea.

  13. doofus

    Why do the Reds sign Grandal, if they have Tyler Stephenson coming soon?

    • Doug Gray

      Well, in theory, there could be a few reasons: First, Grandal is absolutely proven to be All-Star caliber, and there’s no waiting for him to be that. He’s that guy, right now, today. There’s no risk beyond “he could get hurt”. With Stephenson, you hope that he becomes what Grandal is today. But even the biggest supporters of Stephenson don’t think he’s that guy in April of 2020.

      If your plan is to go for the playoffs in 2020, Grandal is much more likely to get you there. Depending on what it takes to get Grandal in, you’ve got some options. Stick with Grandal the entire time and keep Stephenson as a backup option. Stick with Grandal the whole time, trade Stephenson to another team for something the Reds need. Keep Grandal until it’s clear that Stephenson is ready to take over, then trade Grandal for something the team needs.

      There’s some risk involved with all of those options. But they all have some merit to them, too.

      • doofus

        This team needs much more than just Grandal to get it to the playoffs.

        I do not believe that signing a 31 year old catcher for 3 years or more for something like $18MM per season is wise. Especially for the Reds.

        Who replaces Grandal if T Stephenson is traded, Okey?

        Why not provide other options like signing D’Arnaud at a much cheaper number?

        Putting so many Benjamins in a 31 year old catcher’s basket is not a wise move. Look at Johnny Bench’s numbers from his 31 year old season (1979) and beyond. And, Grandal is NO Bench.

        You really want to invest $50 million plus on a 31 year old catcher?

      • Doug Gray

        I want to start winning baseball games. Yasmani Grandal goes a long way towards doing that. You can sign him and still keep Tyler Stephenson if you want to. You don’t get d’Arnaud instead because he doesn’t move the needle. Grandal’s an elite catcher. d’Arnaud is a guy who can start for some teams. If all it takes is 3-year and $50M to get Grandal, good gravy sign me up for that tomorrow.

      • Jefferson Green

        Grandal is a 3-4 WAR upgrade over what the Reds have now. That is a big jump. Very few, if any, other upgrades of this magnitude will be available to the Reds this winter. Sure, 18 million is a big number, but not for a 5 WAR catcher. And the team would still have 20+ million (minimum) to add other talent. And they give up no prospects. Even better, Casali or Barnhart would become a trade asset to improve another area. As for age, some catchers maintain great value in their 30’s – and Grandal is coming off the best two year stretch of his career, and has been to the postseason, as well. Lots to like here.

      • doofus

        Grandal is not elite. The Reds need more than just Grandal to “move the needle.”

        Sunk costs of $18 to $20MM per season for 3 or 4 years on a 31 year old catcher, one who is not elite, is not smart.

        If it was for JT Realmuto, a younger catcher, I would support the signing.

        Johnny Bench starting falling off after his 31 year old season.