The Cincinnati Reds saw two roster moves take place on Monday afternoon. The first involved the team losing utility-slugger Robel García on waivers to the New York Mets. About an hour later it was announced that the team had outrighted reliever Joel Kuhnel to Triple-A Louisville.
Robel García never took a step on the field for the Cincinnati Reds at the big league level. He never stepped onto a minor league field for the team either, technically. Cincinnati picked up García on waivers on July 26th from the Chicago Cubs and assigned him to the alternate roster at Prasco Park in Mason. That’s where he stayed for the entire season, with the exception of being the extra player during a double header in August – a game he didn’t get into.
For García, he’s looking at his 4th organization in the last two years. After being released by Cleveland after spring training as a minor leaguer in 2014, he eventually wound up playing professionally in Italy. During an instructional league game against the Cubs, while playing for his Italian team, he caught the eye of those in attendance and signed with Chicago on October 31st of 2018. In the 2019 season he beat up Triple-A pitching and was called up to the big leagues midseason and played in 31 games for the Cubs, hitting five homers and slugging .500, but also hitting just .208 with a .275 on-base percentage.
Joel Kuhnel being placed on waivers was a bit of a surprise. The big right-handed pitcher made his big league debut in 2019 with Cincinnati after working his way up through the farm system as an 11th round pick in 2016. He posted a 4.66 ERA in 9.2 innings during 2019 with five walks and nine strikeouts for the Reds. In Double-A and Triple-A during 2019 he posted a 2.18 ERA in 53.2 innings with 16 walks and 50 strikeouts.
In 2020 Kuhnel didn’t make his way onto the big league club until August, but he only pitched in three games. On August 9th he allowed two solo home runs in his debut against Milwaukee. He then pitched in back-to-back games at the end of the month, each a shutout inning of work against the Chicago Cubs. The righty has touched 100 MPH in the past, and topped out an 99 in the majors, will remain in the organization.
With those two players no longer on the 40-man roster, the Reds are down to 35 (plus one) on the roster. Tyler Thornburg is still on the 45-day injured list. Once the season is over, he will have to be “activated” and will count towards the 40-man.