The Cincinnati Reds have signed right-handed pitcher Zack Godley to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. While teams can’t make deal with players for big league contracts as the owners continue to lock out the players on the 40-man roster, they can still sign players to minor league deals. Godley, along with getting the invite to big league spring training is also going to be in early minor league camp – which is now up to 60 players (you can see the full list here).

Zack Godley has pitched in the big leagues in parts of the last seven seasons. Most of that came with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he’s pitched for the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Brewers in parts of the last three seasons, too. The soon-to-be 32-year-old has spent time in his career as both a starter and a reliever. In the big leagues he’s started 89 games and pitched out of the bullpen in another 49. When he was in the minors he started 52 games and pitched in relief in another 64 games. During the 2021 season he only pitched in two games with the Brewers, starting one and relieving in another. At the minor league level he split time in the Brewers, Guardians, and Mets systems in Triple-A and made 18 starts with 3 relief appearances.

From 2015-2018 he was a league average pitcher, posting a 4.41 ERA in 444.2 innings to go along with 48 home runs allowed, 176 walks, and he struck out 444 batters. But in 2019 things took a big step backwards and he’s struggled ever since. In 124.0 innings across 17 starts and 26 relief appearances he’s posted a 6.75 ERA with 25 home runs allowed, 61 walks, and just 103 strikeouts.

Perhaps one reason he’s been less effective is that his groundball rate fell off of the map starting in 2019. He went from a guy who had well above-average groundball rates to one who had below-average groundball rates. His velocity has been dropping since he was a rookie, though the last two seasons we have limited data compared to the previous years due to the shortened 2020 season when he made just 8 appearances and then 2021 when he spent most of the year in the minors and threw to just 21 big leaguers.

As it goes with almost all minor league deals – there’s not much risk involved for the club. In the past, Zack Godley has been of value in the big leagues as he’s provided teams with both starts and relief appearances while posting a league average ERA. If the Reds can get him back to that guy then it’s going to be viewed as a shrewd pick up on a minor league deal. And if spring training comes and goes and he doesn’t seem to “have it” anymore, then there’s not much lost for Cincinnati.

21 Responses

  1. ryan

    Wow, an ERA of 4.41 that recently skied to 6.75, be still my heart

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      He’s available on a minor league contract for a reason. Lets hope the Reds can get him back to his old self.

      • LDS

        Wow, how many times have Reds fans said that in the last few years: Doolittle, et. al.

      • 2020ball

        The problem isnt us being fine with no-risk deals, the problem is the ones that dont work are usually the only options the FO left themselves with.

  2. CI3J

    In other words, Reds sign over-the-hill pitcher entering his age 32 season who was mediocre in his prime and hasn’t been good in 4 years. Somehow hope to help him magically recover his “glory days” in the bandbox that is GABP.

    Yeah, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say this isn’t going to work out.

    • Alan Horn

      Nothing they have done so far in the off season is going to work and I am not going out on a limb. Without more positive off season moves, Reds fans should not expect much in the up coming season.

      • TR

        I’m not, in the same way I wasn’t expecting much from the Bengals this season.

    • TXRedLeg

      Paul Wilson was sighted throwing batting practice. Don’t give up yet.

      • TR

        With baseball in a funk, it certainly seems that way.

    • Doug Gray

      If I could force the owners to end the lockout and be reasonable, I would. But I don’t have that power. So I’m just reporting on what little that I can these days.

      • Alan Horn

        I know it is tough for you and other writers Doug. When the lockout ends it will make it easier for you and other writers, but it is doubtful the Reds ownership will make the needed moves to be be competitive. Now and then, Reds fans shouldn’t blame the messenger but ownership.

      • Private Gripweed

        Thanks for the almost-daily content here, Doug. You and the other contributors are doing a great job this offseason in spite of the lockout and few Reds moves.

      • Redsvol

        Facts show the owners have given in several areas. So whatever you’re doing with the owners is working. Try working on that stellar MLBPA executive committee next.

      • Doug Gray

        I’ve told them to ask for more than they’re asking for because that’s what they should actually be doing. Let’s see if they listen.

    • Votto4life

      I don’t think anyone is blaming the messenger, they are blaming the same old message. Reds sign a player past his prime, who was never any good when he was in his prime.

      • 2020ball

        All I read here was depth signing, something this organization needs particularly in the pen.

  3. Steven Ross

    Another “Invite to Spring Training” Signing. Never ends. Zzzzzz…..

  4. Old-school

    Labor issues at a crawl
    I said months ago Castellini could care less about baseball before memorial day and the owners are going to make the players pay for 2021 players getting full pay with limited attendance. Owners will wait this out until the players checks dont come in and they change