The Cincinnati Reds had until 6pm ET today to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft that will take place in a few weeks at the end of the winter meetings (which will not be held in person this year). Entering the day the Reds had 32 players on the 40-man roster. They would add three from their farm system, and then another player was added via trade. Internally the Reds chose to protect three pitchers from the Rule 5 by adding Vladimir Gutierrez, Riley O’Brien, and Jared Solomon – all right-handed pitchers who have been starters in the minor leagues. The team also acquired right-handed pitcher Brandon Bailey via trade (for cash) from the Houston Astros, and he’s also now on the 40-man roster.

In a separate deal with Houston, the Reds also acquired Fredy Medina – a right-handed pitcher – as the completion for trading Brooks Raley to the Astros earlier this year.

Starting out with Vladimir Gutierrez – he spent all of 2020 serving a suspension for failing a drug test in spring training. His suspension was for 80 games, and he has served 60 of those games. The remaining 20 games will be served in 2021. He’s currently pitching – but has yet to take the mound – for Licey in the Dominican Winter League. In 2019 he pitched for Triple-A Louisville, where he struggled – posting a 6.04 ERA on the season while giving up 26 home runs in 137.0 innings. He did finish the season strong, posting a 3.74 ERA in six starts in August that included 41 strikeouts in 33.2 innings. This spring, before the suspension, his velocity was up on his fastball, and he does have one of the better curveballs in the farm system.

Riley O’Brien is new to the organization this year. He was acquired from Tampa Bay in August of 2020 in the deal for Cody Reed. The 2017 8th round pick for Tampa Bay spent the 2019 season in Advanced-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery where he made 17 starts and three relief appearances. In his 102.2 innings he allowed 76 hits, just six homers, walked 44 batters, and struck out 107 hitters to go with a 3.16 ERA. After his acquisition, the Reds assigned him to their 60-man player pool at Prasco Park where he pitched for the next four weeks before the season came to an end. The right-handed pitcher can reach 97 MPH, but sits in the 91-95 MPH range with his fastball. He also throws a plus breaking ball, and he has a change up – but it’s one that needs work.

Jared Solomon didn’t pitch in 2020 since there was no minor league season and he wasn’t invited to be a part of the team’s 60-man player pool. The last time he was on the mound was in 2019 with the Dayton Dragons and Daytona Tortugas. In 115.1 innings he allowed 116 hits, five homers, walked 61, and he struck out 111 hitters to go with a 3.98 ERA. The results were solid, but unspectacular. Most scouts I spoke with during and after the 2019 season saw Solomon eventually moving to the bullpen. But he has started for his professional career, and after working in the 92-94 MPH range for most of the 2019 season (a few games he did sit a little higher), he was throwing up to 98 in instructional league this year. Toss in a solid breaking ball and a change up and he’s a guy you can see working in either role if he continues to develop.

Brandon Bailey pitched in five games this past season with the Astros. He threw 7.1 innings with three walks and four strikeouts while allowing just two runs (2.45 ERA). The now 26-year-old has spent most of his minor league career as a starter, making 58 starts with 25 relief appearances for Houston. For his career he’s posted a 3.07 ERA in the minors with 405 strikeouts in 349.0 innings. During the 2019 minor league season he posted a 3.30 ERA for Double-A Corpus Christi with 103 strikeouts and 41 walks in 92.2 innings. Baseball America rated him as the Astros #29 prospect in their most recent update (midseason 2020). He threw a fastball (92.1 MPH), curveball (79 MPH), change up (82.8 MPH, and a slider (87 MPH) this year according to Baseball Savant.

Fredy Medina, who was acquired in the completion of the Brooks Raley trade is a 23-year-old pitcher who has not pitched beyond complex level rookie ball (next year will be his age 23 season).

20 Responses

  1. Troy

    No surprise for the 3 guys from our system.. Looks like Medina might be a former position player. I can’t find any info on his stuff

  2. Darren

    What do they see in Solomon? Yes he has a high velo, but his stats haven’t backed him up. He hasn’t played above high-a ball either so I don’t necessarily agree with this move. I believe there were a few better options to pick over him. Maybe I’m missing something, and if I am, I would like it if someone could inform me.

    • Stock

      I am hoping Boddy found something everyone else has missed.

    • Troy

      The scouting report notes he spins his fastball well. Seems to fit the mold of what the new regime wants

  3. MBS

    No big surprise, with an overly deep outfield, no need to protect Friedl. Rodriguez also left poachable, but neither player would probably have much of an impact on a 2021 MLB team.

  4. Stock

    The first hint of change. Renaldo is a super 2 this year (I think). Instead of locking in a player who is 30th in the majors in HR and 34th in RBI the last two years Baltimore cut ties. I was thinking this would happen mostly to 5th year players. We could see a very large FA market this year. As a result I feel this will lessen the trade value of Lindor. Why pay Lindor $20 million for one year when you can sign Semien for 2 years and 25 million or Didi for 3 year at $30-35 million. Especially if these two do not cost the Reds any prospects. Also consider that Semien was 3rd in MVP voting in 2019 and Didi was better than Lindor in 2020. Why dump a bunch of prospects for Lindor when you can have Didi or Semien for less per year and I am not sure there is much of a difference.

    • Sliotar

      “Why dump a bunch of prospects for Lindor when you can have Didi or Semien for less per year and I am not sure there is much of a difference.”

      With all due respect ….

      Lindor is projected at 5.1 WAR in 2021
      Semien is projected at 2.9 WAR in 2021
      Gregorius is projected at 2.2 WAR in 2021


      Lindor had the highest WAR of the 3 in 2020 and is the youngest by 2 years.

      Maybe the Reds shouldn’t try for Lindor (though I think they should in this FA market) … but he is in a different class than Gregorius and Semien.

      If they are all FA’s after 2021 … Lindor’s contract will likely be a lot more than the other 2 combined.

      • Stock

        I guess it depends upon where you go to look at WAR.

        Per 2020 WAR: Didi 0.9, Lindor 0.8
        2020 OPS: Didi .827, Lindor .750
        2020 ISO: Didi .205, Lindor .157
        2020 BABIP: Didi .285, Lindor .280 so BABIP suggests it was not luck

        I don’t pretend to think Didi is better than Lindor. I just think he is a better option. At the prices people are suggesting I would not consider trading for Lindor. I think a straight up Senzel/Lindor price is too steep.

      • Stock

        As for the projections, I find them very weak.

        For Didi I exclude his 2019 where he was coming off TJ surgery.

        Didi’s offensive WAR by year is as follows

        2017: 9.0
        2018: 17.4
        2020: 5.3
        2020 projecting 145 games vs. 60: 12.2
        Avg of 2017/2018/2020 extrapolated: 12.8
        Projected 2021 war: -1.3

        Difficult to buy -1.3

        Now Lindor
        2017: 19.4
        2018: 28.1
        2019: 9.9
        2020: -2.3
        2020 for 145 games: -5.6
        Avg 2017 – 2020:15.7
        Projected: 15.5/15.7

        Hard to dispute this projection. I just don’t like the direction Lindor is going here.

        Again, I am not saying Didi is better or equal to Lindor. But the direction of Lindor’s offense is not promising. Lindor will demand more money to play. Lindor will cost the Reds prospects.

        I just don’t see spending on Lindor when Didi is available. Didi will provide more value over three years than Lindor will over one.

      • Doc

        Only Lindor potentially decimates the farm system.

  5. Tom Mitsoff

    What about picking up OF Hunter Renfroe, who was DFA’d by Tampa Bay? He still has three years of team control left and a career OPS+ of 106. 33 homers in 2019 with Padres. Perhaps a platoon partner for Winker?

    • BK

      Not a bad idea. Renfroe’s 200 point career OPS advantage against LHP vs. RHP would make him a good platoon partner for Winker.

      • Troy

        Not against renfroe but I’d like winker in the lineup every night

    • Jimbo44CN

      I think Aquino was never given a proper chance this year. Adding another outfielder who was dumped off by someone else is most probably not going to work. Just my opinion.

  6. doofus

    Interesting read from Mike Petriello on on how players that get away from Coors field still produce, e.g. matt Holiday, DJ LeMahieu. We all know Larry Walker produced before he got to Coors.

    Why do I bring this up, well I have read negatives on Trevor Story’s splits and Arenado’s, but read this article.

    I think the Reds should deal for Story.

    • Troy

      I like story but wonder what the return would be for a single year. Lodolo, Santillan, Callihan? We may need to deal a big leaguer in order to shed salary to take on his

  7. Stock

    The evolution of the shift has decimated Renfroe’s value. Last year he had 8 balls in play that did not include the shift. His BABIP vs. the shift was .116. There is not much difference between his RHP/LHP splits


    • Tom Mitsoff

      Very interesting, and good information. That would probably explain why they weren’t able to trade him before DFA.

    • Stock

      3 players on the left side of the infield and a 1B. Fangraphs now has two/three types of shifts: No shift/traditional shift/non-traditional shift