The Cincinnati Reds have made a few roster moves today before the third game of their series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last night saw right-handed reliever and eraser of the best mustache in Major League Baseball, José De León, exit the game with a groin injury in game two of their double header. Today the team placed him on the 10-day injured list. Taking his place on the active 28-man roster will be right-handed reliever R.J. Alaniz. He was not on the 40-man roster and the Reds needed to make a spot for him, so they designated outfielder Nick Williams for assignment. Update: The Reds would later place third baseman Eugenio Suárez on paternity leave and recalled outfielder Aristides Aquino, who was optioned earlier in the day.
For R.J. Alaniz, he’s returning to the big leagues for the first time since last season when he pitched with the Reds in September. 2019 was the first year that the now 29-year-old had pitched in the Major Leagues and he did so for both Seattle and Cincinnati. In four games with Seattle in April of 2019 he struggled, posting a 9.19 ERA in 15.2 innings. He was picked up waivers by the Reds at the end of May, and joined the club at the Major League level in mid-August. He made eight appearances with the Reds and posted a 5.40 ERA in 11.2 innings last season for Cincinnati.
Nick Williams never actually played with the Reds at the highest level. The Phillies put him on waivers in early August this year and Cincinnati picked him up. He was assigned to the alternate roster at Prasco Park, but with a glut of outfielders both in the Major Leagues and at the alternate site, it’s a tough crowd to break into and he didn’t get that chance. The recently turned 27-year-old had a solid first two seasons in the Major Leagues with Philadelphia, hitting .269/.330/.446 in 2017 and 2018, but in 2019 he struggled in a big way, hitting just .151/.196/.245 with four walks and 43 strikeouts in 67 games played (just 112 plate appearances as he was used mostly as a pinch hitter or late inning replacement).
Kuhnel is already on the 40 man roster. Is he injured? I thought he would be called up before having to DFA a player and adding Alaniz
Could be other roster “politics” at work. I am not familiar with Williams’ specifics but if they can “slip” him through waivers now, it may lock down control over him in 2021 without having to offer an MLB contract over the winter. Could also impact is Rule 5 draft eligibility. Then again he could just be gone as a minor league free agent at the end of the MLB season. Like I said, don’t know his specifics.
After leaving without facing 3 batters I think DeLeon”s trip to IL was mandatory.