The Cincinnati Reds designated Cody Reed for assignment earlier this week. Before letting things work their way through the waiver wire, the Tampa Bay Rays came in and made a trade for the left-handed reliever. Coming back to the Reds in the deal is minor league right-handed pitcher Riley O’Brien.
For Reed, his time as a Red has come and gone. The lefty struggled in his first two seasons with the Reds, posting a 7.36 ERA in 2016 and a 5.09 ERA in 2017. But in his 20 games between 2018 and 2019 with Cincinnati he posted a 3.65 ERA in 49.1 innings. The left-handed reliever missed much of 2019 with a knee injury, though. The 2020 season simply didn’t go well for Reed, who struggled with his ability to throw strikes – walking eight batters in 9.1 innings – as he posted a 5.79 ERA over his nine appearances before the team designated him for assignment.
Riley O’Brien was the Tampa Bay Rays 8th round draft pick out of the College of Idaho in 2017. In his three seasons in the mionr leagues he’s posted a 2.83 ERA in 232.0 innings in 40 starts and 16 relief appearances. Last year he pitched in both Advanced-A and Double-A as a 24-year-old in the Rays farm system. Over his 102.2 innings pitched he allowed 76 hits, just six homers, and he struck out 107 batters. The one mark against his resume has been his high walk rate. In 2019 he had 44 walks and he hit another seven batters, and for his career he’s walked 103 batters in his 232.0 innings.
When it comes to his stuff, Riley O’Brien’s got two above-average offerings. His fastball will work in the low-to-mid 90’s and can touch 97 MPH. He also throws an above-average to plus slider. His change up is below-average and a pitch that will need to improve if he’s going to remain as a starting pitcher. If he winds up in the bullpen he can rely on his fastball and slider combination.
The Reds assigned Riley O’Brien to their 60-man player pool and put him on the alternate roster at Prasco Park. He is not on the 40-man roster. You can see all of his stats here.