We all knew that it was likely that Tejay Antone would be activated today prior to beginning the series with the first place Milwaukee Brewers. Last week we heard manager David Bell suggest as much as long as his final appearance in Louisville while on rehab on Sunday went as expected. It was the other move that may have been a bit of a surprise: The Cincinnati Reds designated left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle for assignment to make room on the 26-man roster for Antone.

If Tejay Antone can return to form, or anything close to it, the Cincinnati Reds bullpen just got massively better. Antone had a 1.87 ERA in 33.2 innings and had allowed just 17 hits before he went on the injured list in late June. It’s been two months since he pitched on a big league mound, though. While on his rehab with Louisville he pitched in seven games and allowed two runs in 6.2 innings with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

As for Sean Doolittle – it’s been a very hit-and-miss season for the lefty. For the season he had a 4.46 ERA in 45 games, but that doesn’t come close to telling the entire story. He had also allowed 12 of the 19 inherited runners to score against him.

With that said, over the last two months he had pitched in 15 games and allowed runs in just two of them that went onto his record. He had also only allowed 1 of 6 inherited runners to score in that stretch.

The move to designated Doolittle for assignment probably came down to a choice between three options. The first would be to just option Tony Santillan, who was the only player in the bullpen on the active roster who had options. It’s a tough sell to suggest that Santillan isn’t one of the best nine relievers on the 40-man roster, though, and if you’re competing for a playoff spot on August 24th that isn’t a move you generally want to make.

The other move was to choose between the left-handed pitchers in the bullpen who have all had their struggles this season. Doolittle, Amir Garrett, and newcomer Justin Wilson. The big difference between Doolittle and the other two is that he’s a free agent at the end of the season, while the Reds could keep both Garrett and Wilson for the 2022 campaign if they would like to. There could be a lot more to the decision than that, and there likely was, but that probably played into the decision.

60 Responses

  1. LT

    We’re at full strength minus Winker. Let’s go beat them Brewers!

    • Tim

      Any word on Winker’s return? Hope he comes back like Votto did!

  2. Tim

    Wish the best to Doolittle. The grand question above all others is, who do you want coming out of the BP with the game or season on the line. Redleg nation would all have a heart attack if it was Doolittle.

    • Rednat

      at least Doolittle was a quick worker. Hembree dragged out the pain for what seemed like hours

      • Andy

        My son and it timed hembree between pitches he was so slow. It was 50 seconds! Ball 50 seconds ball 50 seconds home run

  3. SteveO

    Looks like that’s it for the pitching staff moving forward, barring injury. Expansion to 28 will now include Winker and one of Senzel, Lopez or Schrock next week. Solid roster for the stretch run. Go Reds!

    • Mark Moore

      I could see them getting Lodolo some reps in September out of the pen. Just to give him a little taste.

      • Chris Holbert

        They have 14 pitchers, that is the limit even at roster expansion time.

      • MBS

        It is in a normal season, just like 13 is the limit before Sept 1. I am not sure that 14 rule applies this year

    • Sean Collins

      Doesn’t have to be one pitcher and everyday player?

  4. docproc

    Best part of this is that Santillan didn’t get sent down.
    Nah, best part is not seeing Doolittle again.

    • JayTheRed

      Yes I am very happy they cut ties with Doolittle. I was ok with adding him in the off season cause it was probably our biggest name we added but as the season went on I just would shake my head every time he got called in. I was always so nervous even after he started pitching better.

  5. KG

    As bad as Doolittle has been this season, and he’s been pretty bad, his numbers are actually better than Garrett’s. Let’s hope this was the right move. If the FO wanted to release the weakest link in the BP, it probably wasn’t Doolittle.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Very true. But Garrett has some years of team control left and the potential to be corrected. When you consider he really only had one pitch, Doolittle had some moments. But a one-pitch pitcher is not a long-term solution.

      Paying someone not to pitch probably was a hard pill for ownership to swallow. I truly was waiting to see Santillan be optioned after pitching like a bullpen ace in the last week or so.

      • Indy Red Man

        Common sense because Garrett would get picked up immediately.
        AG isn’t getting any meaningful innings, but maybe 1 lefty in the playoffs? They can try and fix him or get something for him in the off-season.

      • Alan Horn

        I expected Santillan to optioned also. I cringed every time Doolittle came into the game. So less of that I guess. Plus, Santillan deserved to stay as we are fighting for a playoff berth.

  6. Redsvol

    I think I would have liked to see what a Michael Feliz could have done for a couple weeks before letting him go if they knew all along they were going to DFA Doolittle. I definitely agree with his designation.

    Its interesting to look at the active pitchers now and consider there will likely be very little turnover from 2021 to 2022. Other than Lorenzen (free agent), Givens (free agent), and Miley ($10MM option), this pitching squad will likely also be with us in 2022. In this case, I think thats a good thing. However, they are either going to need to re-sign Lorenzen or pick up a real closer in free agency.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      With as many teams as are experiencing pitching injuries, there’s a decent chance that both Feliz and Doolittle will be picked up quickly.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. A lot of teams are struggling for enough pitchers. Most everyone getting DFA’ed recently is getting claimed by some team.

      • Alan Horn

        All the Reds have to do is pick up his bargain option at 10 million.

      • Joe

        Miley at 10 million is a easy decision to pick up his option.

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    I think this move has several meanings but the most huge one is that Santillán was considered by the FO as an important arm in the BP right now and down the stretch…
    The hipothetical advantage of have kept Doolittle was his playoff experience which could be useful if Reds make the postseason so it is very likely another contender team picks him up soon… In other side, Garrett and Wilson must get better in next outings if they want to leave the radar of DFA while the season comes to the end…

    • Alan Horn

      Wilson has pitched pretty good since coming over. It is a small sample size.

      • JayTheRed

        Yes I have no issue with Wilson since coming over from New York.

  8. AllTheHype

    Was kinda expecting Santillan to be sent down. Pleasantly surprised they didn’t.

  9. Roger Garrett

    Good luck to Doolittle.Reds took a chance when signing him and for the most part it just didn’t work out.

    • JA

      It was evident Reds needed to re-inforce the BP. New RPs + Lorenzen, and now Antone back improveds the RP crew. It is logic some of the BP were going to pay the price.

      Next hole to fix is 3B

      Good Luck Sean Doolitle.

      • Alan Horn

        The only way to fix the hole at 3B is kiss good bye a lot of money and/or prospects. Or they could bench them but they are too expensive and unproductive for that also.

      • Alan Horn

        The Reds have plenty of in house candidates for 3B. India, Lopez, Schrock, Farmer and Barreo if you are crazy. Assuming Barreo is at SS next season(or Farmer) you could rotate the rest around between 2B and SS. Throw Senzel in the 3B/2B mix as well.

      • MK

        If you are planning Senzel at third then you still need to pick up someone to play half the season while he is injured.

      • Alan Horn

        True. He could spot start there until he hits the IL. My first choice at 3B next season is Farmer(although he has played a great SS). It depends on how Barreo looks going forward. What did you think of Lopez when he was at Dayton? I was impressed with his bat from what I saw of him this season at Chattanooga..

  10. Old-school

    Mo Egger was pronouncing Santillan …..San-teee-an
    I thought it was San-tee-Yan

    Which is it?

    Another step to the Reds best roster.

    I wouldn’t give up on Garrett. He needs to go re-invent himself this winter and re-discover his 2 seam FB/sinker/change up – what ever you call it- that induces ground balls and soft contact. He’s not Josh Hader or Aroldis Chapman. Arthur Rhodes maybe?

    Votto adjusted. Tucker gave up hitting righty. India gave up on his high leg kick for a toe tap. Lorenzen quit trying to throw 6 pitches and play CF and focused on being a shut down reliever. Luis Castillo went back to pitching low in the zone. It can be done.

    Suarez and Garrett need to change

    • JA

      Double “LL” has a rare pronunciation in spanish sounds like the “J” in John.

      So it sounds like


    • docproc

      From Baseball Reference:
      Pronunciation: SAN-tee-yan

      • Jim Walker

        Agree. Back when I studied Spanish the LL was more a hard Y than a J as in John, at least in the Western Hemisphere. In Europe it is an L-Y compressed into 1 sound. You barely hear the L with the hard Y dominating. For instance millon in European Spanish sounds like million in English with a long O sound vs the short U in the last syllable. In Latin America it is me-yon with a long O

  11. LDS

    Surprisingly, two straight FO moves (Felix, Doolittle) that didn’t the RLN fans cringe in disgust. And both were met with near unanimity Amazing.

    • Redsvol

      which probably means they will both have key appearances for playoff teams this year……

  12. Chris

    This is a great move. So glad Doo-Nothing is gone. Also, what’s all the negative talk of Wilson. Wilson has been outstanding since he’s been here; yes his last appearance vs Chicago wasn’t so good, but he’s been very solid outside of that.

    • Alan Horn

      Agree on Wilson. I was wondering the same thing.

    • JayTheRed

      I like Wilson too so far. I think he has some nice pitching style that will get batters out.

  13. Redsvol

    Interesting to see Tommy Milone added to Louisville roster before August 31st. With 3 positions left on the 40 man roster, is it possible they will audition this left handed pitcher to see if he would have value to a playoff team. Not much downside to doing it. He had a very good 2019 for Seattle before Covid. Not good this season but very small sample size.

  14. Klugo

    Tough decision, but one that I can understand. I feel like Sean gave us all he had. I just dont think there is much left there.

    • beelicker

      Yes, with all the technology they have now to evaluate spin, velocity, break, etc and all these ‘nonpitching’ pitchers are still throwing their routine sessions in the pen, you’d suspect Doolittle is just losing his stuff

  15. Brian Rutherford

    I always hate to see someone lose their job. He did his best for the team so I just hope things work out for him in the future. I will also be glad there won’t be any reason for the childish name calling because he didn’t perform as well as everyone wanted. Nobody deserves that.

    • Old-school

      Doolittle won a World Series and did quite well for himself, netting himself $22 million in career earnings.

      Also a first class guy and media favorite for his personality and genuine supporter and advocate for childhood reading and literacy

      That doesn’t change the fact he was a part of the Reds poor bullpen and cant pitch at the MLB level anymore.

      Reds made the right decision finally acknowledging he is not deserving of a 26 man roster spot on a winning bullpen

      Good luck to him

  16. RedAlert

    Bell STILL NOT OPTIMIZING his lineup ! I mean come on man !!! Ain’t that hard to figure out .

    Moose at third batting 5th … all that needs to be said

    • beelicker

      If Counsell brings in a LHP to face Votto/Moose LH back to back in a key situation I don’t think there will be any hesitation to PH Stephenson (with RH Farmer next) there for Moose. It could mean leaving the RHP in for Votto to face. If LHP carefully pitches around Votto to get to Moose it’s still gonna be Stephenson with that LH locked in

      Maximum LH batter lineup, so say how do you put it together and why? Farmer after Votto continues the alternating L/R dynamic but leaves 3 straight LH batters at the bottom. Is swapping Moose with Barnhart any better?

  17. Kevin Patrick

    Nobody wishes he could have helped the Reds more than Sean Doolittle. He seemed like a stand up guy in interviews. I hope that Antone can help nail things down. The Moose homer gives me some hope for the stretch run…and frankly…I think there are worse “backups” than Suarez. The Reds have to stay healthy from here on out…may our hitting be strong and may Akiyama rob Yelich of three homers this evening.

  18. Fanman

    Lodolo pitched one inning last night and struck out the side. Is this a precursor of adding a dominant lefty to the Reds bullpen for stretch run and into the playoffs?

    • Arthur

      Not a good idea to use either Lodolo or Greene out of the bullpen. The Reds seem to have fully adopted the “one inning, throw as hard as you can until you blow out your elbow” philosophy for relievers. Lodolo most certainly does NOT need to be used like that.

  19. Redsfan4ever

    It’s funny how everyone in this chance knows baseball. I was doing some research on garrett. He’s had 51 holds from 2018 to the start of 2020. That’s a lot of holds. Relievers get paid for those. His strikeouts are 12 per 9 career. His era in late close ball games is just under 3 era. His career era is a 5, but that was due to his first year starting. His era as a reliever is a 3.7. Reds would be dumb to give up on him now. He will bounce back. Doolittle was a great veteran presence and he will be missed. And people calling for art Warren, shrock etc. they are small sample sizes they were put on waivers for a reason. I’d roll with what we have keep Geno Ofcourse and moose for these playoffs. They are our big dogs.

  20. JB

    Hoping that Warren comes back this year as well.

  21. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Alright, can someone help? Trying to be sincere here. Exactly what does “Designated for assignment” mean? I simply don’t remember.

  22. Jim Walker

    Upon being DFA, the player is immediately off the 40 man roster. The team then has up to 10 days to trade, release or outright assign the player to their minor league system.
    As of now, the trade deadline is passed for this season; so a trade is not an available alternative.

    Releasing or assigning require the player to be sent through waivers. If any team puts in a waiver claim, they get the guy and become responsible for whatever contract time and money remain. If no one claims the player on waivers, he is then assigned or released with the original team remaining responsible for the contract.

    There are also some situations where a player may refuse assignment and immediately become a free agent but that is beyond a simple short direct answer except to say if the player declares free agency, he forfeits any money outstanding in the contract.