Is there anyone following along here that hasn’t read or heard that the Cincinnati Reds used between 35-40 pitchers to get through the 2022 season? If so, you just read it!
Even allowing for Reds pitchers who will be free agents via service time or have already been sent elsewhere to get on with their lives, Redleg Nation compiled a list of 14 pitchers who could be on the non-tender bubble. To keep this evaluation process sane, we divided these 14 pitchers into two groups alphabetically based on their last names. I drew the short straw for the group with last names starting with “H” through the end of the alphabet.
Without further ado, here are the guys we looking at today.
|Player||2023 Season Age||Arbitration Status||
|Justin Wilson||35||Team Option||$1.2M|
The $725K projected salary for a number of these players is based on the 2023 MLB minimum of $720K with a small increment added for prior MLB service. This estimate could be low; but, with the MLB minimum jumping from $700K in 2022 to $720K for 2023, it seems reasonable.
Derek Law’s projected salary is courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors
Justin Wilson’s projected salary is courtesy of Cot’s Contracts
Kuhnel first appeared at the MLB level with the Reds in August of 2019, ending the season with 11 appearances. He followed that up with 3 MLB appearances in the shortened 2020 season. However he missed most of 2021 (shoulder issue) and made no MLB appearances during the season.
Kuhnel made up for lost time logging 53 MLB game appearances in 2022 but did not pitch with particular effectiveness. Despite a BB rate of only 5.5% and K rate of 22%, his ERA was 30% or more worse than league average. If he could improve his command, perhaps he could be more effective.
Law landed with the Reds after bouncing around MLB since 2016.
From 2016-2019 Law appeared to build a solid career with the Giants then Toronto. He has struggled to maintain traction in his career since then however.
At times he pitched well for the Reds in 2022. He finished with a better than league average ERA while walking less than 9% of the batters he faced and striking out more than 2 batters for every batter walked, a welcome feat among Reds relievers in 2022.
Moreta came to the attention of the Reds and Reds fans with a remarkable bullpen run at classes AA and AAA in 2021. He made it to the Reds very late in the season and impressed with his performance.
Unfortunately Moreta struggled to make the next step forward in 2022 despite posting a WHIP of 1.17. To the good, while he walked 8.1% of the batters he faced, he struck out exact 3 times that percentage. Moreta’s issue appeared to be with command versus quality of stuff and approach.
Overton struggled to get to MLB for 7 years before getting a very brief look with Toronto and Pittsburgh in 2021. The Reds signed him as a minor league organizational depth pitcher over following the 2021 season.
Injuries soon opened the door for Overton at the MLB level with the Reds. Sadly, his sensational debut as a Reds starting pitcher was derailed by a back injury after just 4 starts (24.2 IP) in which he compiled a 1.82 ERA.
He returned in late September and gave hope that in 2023 he could pick up where he left off in April of 2023 when the injury struck him down.
Jared Solomon was on the Reds Prasco alternate site roster during the 2020 pandemic season. Unfortunately, he subsequently had to undergo Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2021 season.
Solomon started 2022 at AA but quickly advanced to AAA and was called up to the Reds in early May. He shuffled back and forth a couple of times before landing back at AAA for the balance of the season after the All Star break.
Solomon’s performance at both AAA and MLB was not impressive; but, it must be kept in mind that 2022 was his first competitive game experience since 2019 and also marked his return from Tommy John surgery.
Art Warren was a late in life arriving bullpen wunderkind in 2021. However, he failed to repeat his performance in 2022. This year saw his walk rate balloon to over 13% helping to inflate His WHIP to 1.64
Late in the season, Warren was sent to IL with elbow issues and eventually underwent a medical procedure which was declared to not be Tommy John surgery, but was a UCL repair (Tommy John surgery would be a UCL replacement). Warren was on the 60 day IL at the end of the season.
Veteran leftie Wilson went down to a season long injury just five appearances into the 2022 season and subsequently underwent Tommy John Surgery. He spent the rest of the season on the 60 day IL. The old axiom in baseball that there is always a spot for an additional left handed reliever that is breathing and can get the ball up to the plate. Does a guy entering his age 35 season while going through Tommy John surgery recovery count as “breathing”, not to mention that rolling his club option would cost at least $1.2m?
And The Envelope Please….
Before we open the envelope, recall that we have looked at just 7 of a total of 13 pitchers Redleg Nation felt were on the non-tender bubble. Our envelope is going to include the name of two definite keepers, one definite NO and a special case maybe NO.
Connor Overton is a no doubt KEEPER. He is cheap and offers the flexibility to work from the rotation or bullpen. Given his performance in 2022, he almost certainly would be of interest to other teams if non-tendered or exposed to waivers.
Duari Moreta also earns a definite KEEPER call here. His K to BB ratio of 3.0, relatively low BB rate, and 1.17 WHIP earn him another shot at getting his command figured out.
Justin Wilson gets a pink slip. A team in the Reds situation should not put $1.2m at risk on a 35 year old recovering from Tommy John surgery. If Wilson wants to come into camp on a low cost minor league deal, that would be a different matter.
Art Warren is our No, Maybe. He comes cheap; but, we don’t know that much about his elbow procedure or recovery prognosis. And it will be his age 30 season in a tight 40 man roster spot situation. A minor league deal might be a better alternative here too.
Stack and rack everyone else in this group with the bubbles of the bubble from the other group and then figure out who stays and who goes. And keep in mind, virtually everyone in both groups could turn out to be nothing more than a placeholder pending who becomes available from other organizations via free agency (including non-tenders), waivers and trades.
To see the other positional non-tender write ups you can click right here.