The Cincinnati Reds have made a flurry of roster moves this afternoon. The team placed pitchers Raynel Espinal and Ryan Hendrix, as well as catchers Chuckie Robinson, Michael Papierski, Aramis Garcia, and Mark Kolozsvary on waivers. Both pitchers and catcher Chuckie Robinson cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A Louisville. Michael Papierski was claimed by the Detroit Tigers, while both Aramis Garcia and Mark Koloszvary were claimed by the Baltimore Orioles.

Once the World Series is over teams have to activate players from the 60-day injured list and those players then count towards the 40-man roster. Cincinnati had a lot of work to do in order to get their number down to 40. They still aren’t there yet with 45 players remaining, but that includes the likes of Austin Romine, Donovan Solano, Mike Minor, and Hunter Strickland who will all be free agents. But Cincinnati will also need to add players to the 40-man roster from the minor leagues to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December. The number of players that will be added probably falls between 5-10.

With the loss of three catchers, the Reds 40-man roster now is down to just two on the 40-man. Tyler Stephenson and Austin Romine remain on the big league roster, and Chuckie Robinson is still in the organization for the time being but is no longer on the big league roster. Romine, though, is a free agent once the World Series is over.

The Baltimore Orioles have one of the best catchers in baseball in rookie Adley Rustchman. Now they’ll also be bringing in Mark Kolozsvary and Aramis Garcia. Kolozsvary only played in 10 games with Cincinnati this season and hit .200/.238/.400 with two doubles and a home run among his four hits on the year. The now 27-year-old hit .163/.303/.279 in 46 games between Double-A and Triple-A this year while in the minor leagues. Garcia played in 47 games with the Reds this season and hit .213/.248/.259 with three walks and 34 strikeouts.

Heading to the Tigers organization, Michael Papierski had a strange split in his season. He struggled in the big leagues in 39 games between San Francisco and Cincinnati, hitting .143/.228/.187. He also really struggled to hit in Triple-A with both the Giants and Astros organizations. But after he was optioned to Triple-A with the Reds he went to Louisville and put together a few good weeks to end the season, hitting .298/.421/.532 with 9 walks and 12 strikeouts in 17 games.

Look for the Reds to try and bring in some depth for both the minor leagues as well as a potential true back up to Tyler Stephenson this offseason.

59 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    The Lettuce Guy is fine … for now. Glad to see Chuckie made it through waivers. I’m thinking he has some potential.

    BTW – if anybody is watching the massacre that is ATL at PHL … just WOW! Our old friend Nick C. got a hard-hit single that didn’t amount to anything. That’s OK because the moon shots before him did enough damage.

    • 2020ball

      I’m not so sure about potential but he’s excellent depth, and I’m glad he’s still with the organization. Excellent story but its possible thats the last he sees the majors. Very little to none were ever able to make it to that level, so a lot of credit is due to these types of players and I never try and forget watching them make it to this level. Glad I got to see you play CR, good luck in the future and hope to see you back in the ML.

  2. MadMike

    Baltimore is like SF; they claim tons of people, many of whom don’t stick beyond a couple of weeks. I have long wondered if they just do this to get some inhouse video on players, and use that data to train & improve their computational models for baseball analytics. Good chance neither of their claims last thru December

    • 2020ball

      Zaidi likes to throw noodles at the wall and they stuck a few times before this year, his luck ran out when all the vets got hurt finally and the bullpen crumbled. Its a strategy that seems odd to me given their payroll. Id personally liked to keep Papierski over the others but dont blame letting him go, just another card in the eternal player shuffle. He’s no more an eight than he is a six so no quarrel from me.

  3. Jim Walker

    Mildly surprised they exposed Garcia to waivers before they had obtained a replacement. Note that he was arbitration eligible and projected at only $800K. If he was a money cut in any part, prepare for Armageddon

    • Optimist

      Exactly my thought, and if they’re down to saving 200k at a time, oh my . . .

    • Votto4life

      I think we already experienced Armageddon. I am sorta numb to all of the salary dumps. How much worse can it get really?

      • 2020ball

        If you’re numb, then why would you care if it gets worse? I still have a rooting interest, but whats the point of getting too high or too low over anything at this point?

      • Votto4life

        I have been rooting for the Reds since 1972. I will continue to root for them, although I am not a fan of the current ownership. Since I have following this team for a half of a century, I do not feel obligated to justify my opinions to you.

        This is a forum to discuss Red’s baseball. If you don’t like my comments, you should try scrolling pass it. It’s the adult thing to do.

      • 2020ball

        My opinions are my own, I need no justification and I feel you have the right to express yours same as myself. Ignore my comments as you see fit, I mean nothing by them either. Perhaps I mistook yours.

  4. Harry Stoner

    This was low hanging fruit.

    The post Stephenson / Garcia injuries merry go round at catcher was grim, but it did seem that Romine emerged, at least anecdotally, as someone that worked well with the pitchers.

    The Reds need production at the bottom of the order and more flexibility in dealing with Stephenson.

    I remain the Doubting Thomas that TS is quickly return to batting form after his injury. I hope the team invests in a better-than-stopgap backup / replacement catcher.

    I thought losing Casali a few years back was a classic Reds bungle. Getting him back would be a good move, but he’s not the solution if TS takes longer to get back to form, or heaven forbid he doesn’t.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree down the line. Wonder if they know something about TS recovery timeline that isn’t in the public domain and are in the market for a genuine starter.

    • JayTheRed

      I would be fine with Casali coming back. He seemed like a decent backup and just think even if he hits .200, he is doing better than several other Reds players

      • Jim Walker

        Casali had surpassed Barnhart as option 1A but they owed Barnhart $5m in sunken costs and wouldn’t or couldn’t find a way to work through it until the next year when they managed to dump Barnhart without having to pay even his option buyout. That’s probably what Harry is referring to above.

    • Harry Stoner

      Yeah, Jim, maybe the Reds don’t think through things that way in multi year terms…spend a bit on Casali to hang on to him, knowing that you’re going to let Tucker go in a year’s time.

      I hope some multi year strategerizing is going on now, and my sense it is…or has to be, with the juggling that’s going to have to go on to try and reap any benefit from the trades.

      I watched Castillo pitch the other night against the Asterisks and had that familiar Reds’ fan melancholy.

      There’s a lot of chatter here which testifies that it’s “World Series or Nothing”.

      I disagree.

      I’m not old enough for the BRM days, but of course, it was in the lore of baseball.
      But so is The Babe. I’ve seen the team go to the WS once in my nearly 40 years of fandom.

      Watching Castillo pitch has been one of the true delights of watching the team. Same with Sonny Gray on multiple occasions over the last few years.

      Season W-L records are one thing, but then there’s any given day of baseball during the season when it was an extraordinary experience. Castillo and Gray provided a lot of those. Arroyo and Cueto and Leake.

      Lodolo and Greene are already headed to doing the same.

      I have no faith that the organization can handle the current talent resources.

      But it’s looking as at least 2 out of every 5 days of Reds’s baseball might be entirely enjoyable to watch.

      Win, lose or draw.

      • Jim Walker

        “…..maybe the Reds don’t think through things that way in multi year terms…”

        I get a distinct impression the Reds default to operating based on the latest cash flow statement and the assumption things will stay the same or get worse pending the next CF statement.

      • Tom Reeves

        Jim Walker – the great news is that with 2022 attendance levels, the revenue side of the cash equation can’t get much worse.

        I think the Reds commitment to match payroll to resources means they’ll limit the payroll to a very attendance projection going forward at least until the debt from the 2020 financial loss is covered.

    • MK

      Casali was good enough to start for The Seattle Reds down the stretch.

    • Daytonnati

      We could do worse … and have.

  5. Redsvol

    This was surprising, for a team with no catching depth, exposing 4 to waivers and knowing another (Romine) is a free agent. The coaches and front office must have really been down on their defensive ability. It’s not like backup MLB catchers are growing on trees.

    I think I would have kept Garcia, unless they have tremendous confidence that Romine will resign with us. The pitching stats were definitely poor when Garcia caught and much better when romaine caught. It’s hard to say that’s all catcher though as the 3 rookie starters just seemed to need time to develop.

    • Harry Stoner

      Good post, Resvol.

      I admit I remain clueless about the actual dynamic between pitcher and catcher, but I do find it fascinating.

      Some catchers must clearly make everyone look good: Molina, Bench, etc.

      With others it seems more like a particular chemistry / pairing between battery, or maybe just one guy didn’t have the other’s chops.

      I think your last point is dead on. Hard to even comp how Greene and Lodolo looked at the end of the season as at the start. They both showed considerable improvement and learning and poise.

      How much goes to the catching? What is it like pitching to a different guy every day vs the same guy? Does it even matter to elite pitchers?

      I couldn’t guess, but the times when the pitchers really acknowledged the catching and pitch calling were pretty rare this season. But when they did it was enthusiastic…as if worth mentioning, not an ordinary day.

      Have nothing to comp that with, but would enjoy learning more.

    • Steven Ross

      These moves tells me the Reds have a FA Catcher in mind. Would not be surprised if it’s either Casali or Barnhart.

  6. DaveCT

    It’s reassuring to know that the GM saw what we all saw. Ineffective or barely effective receivers who didn’t hit.

    Cynically, with the DH, does the backup catcher really need to hit more than a pitcher? Yes I realize the downside of this, giving up, what, 40-50 games of an even marginal hitter. But, given the lackings of our catching department (even with resident catching guru, JR House),, having Romine lead the young staff was no small feat. Sadly it was almost a revelation. Just short of a religious experience, IMHO

  7. IndyRedsFan

    I don’t think cutting Garcia had anything to do with how they felt about him, or about his projected salary. I think it’s all about creating roster spots to protect players that they want to keep more than they do Garcia. Plus, guys like Garcia and Romine are always available on minor league deals.

    As Doug said, even with today’s waivers, they still need to create additional spots. They won’t be keeping Romine either. They’ll likely go into the Rule 5 draft with only Stevenson listed as catcher on the roster.

    They’ll bring in 2 or 3 catchers on minor league deals for spring training and let them fight it out for the back-up spot….just as they did this past spring.
    Romine and Garcia could be those guys…..but they won’t roster them over the winter.

  8. Old-school

    There was an article about Johnson and developing the young pitchers, especially Greene and Lodolo. He felt they made great strides. One of the last games of the year, Bell referenced how important Romine was in helping the young pitchers. Back up catcher in 2023 will be more about Greene and Lodolo and Ashcraft development and other young pitchers than hitting prowess. Im hoping its Casali in a return as a prelude to his managerial career as a reds in 2024.

    • Jim Walker

      I think the fact they did not even hold back Garcia as a placeholder for now may indicate they are looking for more than backup in the same vein they were this time last year. I think they may be looking a guy who has been in say a 60/ 40 mlb mix.

  9. LDS

    That opens 6 slots. Six more slots should be easy: decline Minor & Wilson’s options, Solano, Strickland, Romine, & Anderson are all potentially FAs. So that gets the roster to 28. The Reds list 10, excluding Wilson, on the 60, some of whom should waived as well, e.g. Antone, returning successfully and comparably from a 2nd TJ is a low probability event. Moustakas waived? Well, we all have dreams. Then considering potential non-tenders, and the 40-man is in the low-mid 20s, depending on how many of the 60s the Reds add to the 40. Adding back the new players who need Rule 5 protection and it seems like the Reds will need 6-12 new players. Krall’s comments about the roster going into 2023 sounds a bit off the mark. Maybe I’m off a bit here, but unless the Reds suddenly get serious, it sounds like a lot of dumpster diving ahead.

  10. GreatRedLegsFan

    That’s what I call a catchers’ cleaning!

    • Jim Walker

      They probably thought it would break the other way and they would lose 1 and have 3 salted away off the 40 man roster until they had things figured out and could release one or more of them.

      I will say this. If the broom sweeps as clean across the board there will be no where for Bell and Johnson to hide if the team is as fundamentally unsound, as opposed to just talent short, in 2023

      • Joekr

        Jim, I totally agree with your statement. Even losing three of them, they will always get a chance, (due to their 100 loss seson), to claim them back when they are waived later on.

  11. Melvin

    If the Reds want and have a choice to bring back either Casali or Barnhart you can bet it will be the latter if David Bell has his way just for the fact he bats as a lefty.

    • MK

      Don’t think Tucker will be any cheaper this year than last.

      • joekr

        Actually Tucker will be much cheaper in 2023. He made $7,500,000 this year as a starter. As a backup catcher he is worth less.

  12. Tim

    It seems to me that two really good hitting catchers is a great place to invest especially with the DH. Keep TS at catcher and give him more rest by bringing in someone like Barnhart. It was a mistake to let him go in the first place.

  13. Klugo

    Haha. You probably just mentioned the back up and the depth next year. Romine and Robinson.

  14. Old-school

    Found this article about Casali so its clear he’s more interested in being in a FO than field manager. He didnt do well down the stretch at all with the Mariners and was on the paternity list in early October. He’s not played in the first 2 games of the ALDS. Maybe hes ready to retire and transition as an aging catcher and new father and start his FO career.

    I’d bring Casali back special asst to Krall working with DJ on pitcher development. He’d offer a ton of onfield insight in spring training and could also be a valuable eye during the season following pitcher development at AAA/AA/ high Dayton. HE could probably catch some bullpens and connect the scouting and pitch repertoire with what he sees 60 feet away. His connections within the game might help identify some good veteran arms at the MLB level as well for bullpen jobs.

  15. Hanawi

    Man, lots of suggestions to bring back Barnhardt and Casali to replace these guys. Neither of them hit worth anything this year either and both are older. They combined for 2 home runs and both had OPS’s around .550. Reds should be looking for a real tandem partner that can hold his own at the plate so that they can use Stephenson at 1B and DH more often. I’d even suggest carrying 3 catchers if one of the other two could also play 1st at times.

    • Jim Walker

      +500. Casali cratered with the M’s but was in the 90’s on OPS+ with the Giants. Also, he is Romaine’s age which I think is pushing the envelope for a guy the Reds may be counting on for 50 (or more) games even if TS is “fully healthy”.

      Barnhart is simply a ship that has sailed. Appreciate him as a good person and for the role he played with the Reds during a difficult time but move on without looking back. Be happy for him that he has made around $24m in his career.

      While there may be opportunities for him with teams where the backup catcher is a rocking chair job to give the regular a day off every 10 games or so, I don’t think he fits the profile of what Reds need or are looking for now.

  16. RedBB

    No shock that no one picked up Chuckie. Reds gave up too early on Kolozvary who I think will end up being a solid big league backup catcher.

  17. Bill

    No real surprises here and they still need to drop more players off the 40 man. Strangely I see many people upset with these moves. I’m sure they can find another waiver claim of equal talent if they can’t find a cheap backup in free agency. On the list of things to be concerned about for the Reds, losing these guys doesn’t rank all that high. I also don’t think Barnhart and Casalli are the answer unless they are just doing a 1 year contract for $1 million or less. At some point the Reds actually have to look for a competent backup for 2024 and beyond

  18. west larry

    if they are going to bring back an old catcher for a back-up role, it should be Johnny Bench.

  19. jmb

    There are several guys up for arbitration who should be traded or non-tendered (K. Farmer, Senzel, Aquino, Cessa, Sims, Hoffman for sure, maybe even B. Farmer and Law). The Reds need the space on the 40-man roster, so they’ll all have to go.

    • jmb

      And Anderson, Dowdy, Gibaut, Duarte, Kuhnel, Warren can each be let go.

      • west larry

        that’s 14 guys off the rooster- i might keep Sims through spring training to see if he’s close to his old self, but 13 guys off the rooster should be enough to protect the minor league players that we need to protect.

  20. LDS

    Alright, the Braves are gone. Now if the Padres could eliminate the Dodgers, it would be a good day.

  21. Bill J

    Amazing, the Phillies change managers and end up in the NLCS, the Reds don’t and end up in the NL Central cellar.

    • Doug Gray

      Feels like this should also note that the Phillies kept and went out and got players, while the Reds sold off anyone with any sort of big league track record of being good that they could who was making more than $1M.

      • DX

        That isn’t the point. The Phillies changed managers and improved as a team. The Reds didn’t can a manager who has not had much success even with your over $1m players.

      • Doug Gray

        I guess the point is: The Phillies had good players and changing managers may or may not have mattered in their turn around. The Reds absolutely did not have enough good players and changing managers wouldn’t have made any real difference – they still would have lost 90+ games.

  22. Bill J

    The ownership reminds me of a Waite Hoyt story when he was with the Yankees, said after a year his record wasn’t great he went in ask for a raise, they told him you had a bad year no raise, next year he had a good year went in ask for a raise because he had a good year, they told him we’re not paying you for last year we’ll be paying you for next year. No raise

    • Jim Walker

      Waite coiled tell’em couldn’t he?!? As I grew up his voice on the radio was the Reds. He was also involved in one of my early in life Reds disappointments.

      When I was 10 or so, I got to go to Crosley field; and, one of the 1st things I did when we got to our seats was locate the radio booth to catch a look at him. I was flabbergasted because neither of the guys sitting behind a microphone looked like the image of Hoyt I had built in my mind’s eye over the years of listing. I asked my dad if Waite Hoyt was taking the day off for some reason. He said no, look up at the booth, that’s him on the right (or left).

      So, now 60+ years later here I am telling this story but have not a clue who the Reds played that day or who their players were or who won the game.

      • Bill J

        Jim,I had the LP of Waite on the rain, what great listening that was. Been a Reds fan all my life because of my dad. When he retired I use to see him on Saturday watching Game of the Week on 1 TV, Braves on another and listening to the Reds and keeping score on it. When I was younger dad worked at the ballpark in Dayton, got to see some Indians games. Great times to remember.

  23. Old Big Ed

    AAA/AAAA catchers are a dime a dozen, and in fact the Reds had about a dozen of them last year. Glove-first back-up catchers are a commodity item in the baseball business.

    Assuming Stephenson starts at catcher in 110 games next season, the Reds will have about 50 games in which the B-team catcher plays. He will hit 9th (unless Barrero seizes that spot again), and will have about 160 plate appearances, given that he could be pinch-hit for late in games where necessary.

    I don’t see any big point in paying a ton for a back-up catcher for 160 PAs. I would focus on the best available receiver, especially with the three young starting pitchers. If that is Barnhart or Romine, then so be it. Getting a good bunter may help.

    Obviously, there is the potential for another Stephenson injury, which I somewhat discount here.