The Cincinnati Reds released seven players from the minor leagues this past week. Former 1st round draft pick Brandon Finnegan was one of those seven players.

When the Cincinnati Reds traded away the best starting pitcher they’d had in decades with Johnny Cueto back in 2015 they acquired a trio of starting pitchers from the Kansas City Royals. Among that group, and the headlining player was left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan.

While Brandon Finnegan had pitched in the big leagues in 2015 with Kansas City, when he joined the Reds he was sent to Triple-A Louisville. He had some struggles there, too, but was called up in September where he held his own in two relief appearances and four starts, posting a 4.18 ERA in 23.2 innings.

The next spring the then 23-year-old lefty made the roster out of spring training and made 31 starts for the Reds, throwing 172.0 innings. He posted a 3.98 ERA in that stretch and looked like he was on his way to being a staple in the Cincinnati rotation moving forward.

But as they say: Man makes plans, God laughs. In 2017 Brandon Finnegan made three starts to begin the season with the Reds. After throwing 7.0 innings of 1-hit baseball in his season opener he managed to throw 3.0 innings combined in the next two outings while walking eight batters. He then went on the injured list and missed the next two months before returning on a rehab stint. After three games in the minors he returned to Cincinnati’s roster and made one start in St. Louis before being shutdown for the rest of the year.

From that point forward things were never the same for the lefty. His ERA the next season, mostly spent in Triple-A, was over 7.00. In 2019 he missed the entire first half of the season so he could work with Driveline to try and find some velocity after he was struggling to reach 90 MPH. He did return in the second half that year throwing harder, sitting in the 92-94 range and touching higher, but the results didn’t follow as he allowed 11 runs on 14 hits and 10 walks in 15.0 innings.

In 2021 he spent the year pitching in Triple-A Louisville. The results there were better than he’s had in a while, but they weren’t great. He pitched in 40 games – 39 out of the bullpen – and he struggled as he posted a 5.53 ERA in 55.1 innings where he walked 36 batters and had 57 strikeouts.

With his release, the Reds no longer have any players from the Johnny Cueto trade in the organization. John Lamb was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash after the 2016 season. Cody Reed also wound up being traded to Tampa Bay, but that came in August of 2020 when the Cincinnati acquired Riley O’Brien.

23 Responses

  1. JayTheRed

    Finnegan never turned back to what he was with the Royals. I am not too sad to see him go. Stinks we have nothing to show for Johnny Baseball. One of my favorite Reds pitchers.

    • rgslone

      Loved Cueto. High IQ pitcher. I think he’s in the Top 5 Reds starters of the last 50 years.

    • Maloney63

      Well, Johnny is available if we want him back!

  2. Randy in Chatt

    Who were the other 6 released?


      Ryan Campbell, Wes Robertson, Karsen Lindell, John Ghyzel, Anthony Zimmerman and Luis Lopez. Also saw that one of the Reds Strength and Conditioning Coach, Morgan Gregory, has left to join the Phillies.

  3. Melvin

    Not too much to show for Cueto and Chapman. Two of our best pitchers in a long long time. I will admit at the time the Cueto trade didn’t look as bad as it does now.

    • Redsvol

      Just goes to show, prospects are not major leaguers. Be careful overvaluing them if that is only thing standing in way of a trade for a bona Fide major leaguer. On flip sides, if you’re trading a decent major league player, you must get several ranked prospects / not just one. Othwrwise, keep the player.

    • west larry

      The worst trades in reds history? Frank Robinson, Chapman and Cueto. The best trades in reds history? Getting George Foster (for Duffy), Joe Morgan and Castillo.

      • James K

        Another great trade from remote past was getting Bob Purkey for Don Gross.

      • Mauuired

        Throw in Suarez for Alfredo Simon as a great one.

        Trading away Christy Matthewson to Giants for Amos Rusie was franchise altering for both teams.

      • Mauired

        Oh yeah and despite Doug’s hate for the guy. Trading away Hamilton for Vollquez still hurts almost 13 years later.

      • Oldtimer

        Tony Perez and Will McEnaney for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray ranks just behind Frank Robinson trade among Reds worst.

        Tom Seaver for Zachry, Flynn, Henderson & Norman ranks just behind Joe Morgan trade among Reds best.

        Agree on Purkey trade in 1957. Pirates GM said it was his worst ever. He got revenge on Frank Thomas for Hoak, Haddix & Burgess in 1959.

      • Optimist

        Christy Matthewson for Amos Rusie. But, who knew?

      • AllTheHype

        Brandon Phillips for Jeff Stevens

      • Little Earl

        John Franco for Rafael Landestoy.

  4. GreatRedLegsFan

    Remembering that trade, Johnny Cueto, a pitcher in his prime, in exchange of three near major league ready prospects, none ever becoming a reality: Finnegan is now a FA but I guess somebody else will take a flyer with the 28-years old, Reed has just been released by Tampa Bay, also 28, and Lamb has already retired. Very poor scouting assessment.

  5. Gonzo Reds

    The Giants will pick him up and he’ll be a star.

    • Gonzo Reds

      I should add I see the Cardinals are spending as they signed Matz for their rotation. Cubs of course now have added Miley. What do we have? Questions. Many questions.

      • RedsGettingBetter

        Are Greene/Lodolo ready to hold a rotation spot this season? Can we count on Vlad for another spot and he could pitch 150 plus innings with average ERA+? Is Gray going to be trade definitely this offseason? These are some questions just about pitching that I wonder but really there are many more besides them in other team aspects as well…

  6. SultanofSwaff

    Stephen Matz, who has worse peripherals than Disco who has worse peripherals than Wade Miley, gets 4 years/$44million.

    The front office straight up lied about there not being a market for Wade Miley and expected the fans to buy it.

    Sell the team Bob.

  7. Hunt4RedsOct

    Cionel Perez claimed off waivers by Orioles. Freeing up a spot for a signing or the rule 5?

  8. Jim Walker

    There has also been resolution and explanation of how the contract tender date will work for arbitration eligible and pre arbitration players in light of the pending lockout expected at 11:59pm on Dec 1.

    Per Ken Rosenthal, the contract tender deadline has been set for 8pm EST Nov. 30 by agreement between MB and the MLBPA. This creates a 28 hour window ahead of the anticipated lockout during which teams may sign players rendered free agents via nontender. Rosenthal goes on to conclude that he believes this agreement amounts to recognition that there will in fact be a lockout.