The Cincinnati Reds have lost 22 players as the group of players elected minor league free agency this week. Among the group of 22 minor leaguers were big leaguers with the club in the past – Chuckie Robinson, Deck McGuire, Raynel Espinal, and Ronnie Dawson.

Here is the full list of players who elected minor league free agency after being in the Reds organization this season (you can click on their name to see their page at Baseball Reference):

Position Player
RHP Brandon Bailey
3B Cristian Santana
RHP Deck McGuire
RHP Diomar Lopez
C Chuckie Robinson
RF Isiah Gilliam
3B Juniel Querecuto
LHP Justin Nicolino
SS Leonardo Rivas
CF Lorenzo Cedrola
SS Michael De Leon
RHP Miguel Medrano
RHP Nick Hanson
RHP Parker Brahms
RHP Pedro Payano
IF Ranser Amador
RHP Raynel Espinal
LF Ronnie Dawson
RF Stephen Piscotty
RHP Trey Wingenter
RHP Walker Lockett
RHP Wilder Zapata

Obviously you don’t typically feel the pain when a guy leaves in minor league free agency. The team didn’t even deem keep them around on the 40-man roster (or ever add them). But what it does do is diminish some of the depth that an organization has.

At the same time, nearly every organization lost 20-ish players to minor league free agency this week. They are all going to look at trying to fill holes in the organization with some of the 600+ players that are now free agents.

Cincinnati has already done so, signing free agent pitcher Kevin Herget to a minor league deal yesterday when free agency began. The 31-year-old made his big league debut this past season for the Tampa Bay Rays in September. He pitched in three games and allowed six runs on nine hits without any walks and four strikeouts in 7.0 innings. He had pitched in Triple-A for Tampa, posting a 2.95 ERA for Durham in 97.2 innings – mostly as a starter. Herget went 8-1 with 16 walks, 99 strikeouts, and 105 hits allowed in that span. Not bad for a guy who began 2022 pitching in the independent Atlantic League for the Charleston Dirty Birds.

42 Responses

  1. Andy

    We had a Herget, his name was Jimmy. He got about 10 seconds of big league time with the Reds after excelling in the minors and we gave him away to Texas who gave him away to the Angels
    2.5 WAR last year with the Angels

    I will die on this hill that the Reds never gave him any semblance of a chance here and it ranks as one of the top 10 blunders of the last 5 years

    • west larry

      I guess we picked up his brother, Kevin Herget, on waivers.

  2. MK

    Give me a break. Top 10 blunders in 5 years? There might be at least 5 worse in this list of free agents.

    Boy the Hanson draft pick ended up being a waste.

    Would like to see them resign a few of these guys including Santana, Gilliam and Rivas.

    • DaveCT

      Agree on Santana, Gilliam and Rivas. Have to think Gilliam would be able to see the opportunity for himself in the Reds outfield.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Same, I was hoping they’d add him.

    • MBS

      I don’t blame Gilliam, they benched him in AAA for about 2 months, while he was one of the hottest hitters in the system.

  3. LDS

    Herget, eh? It’s going to be a long, miserable off season, followed by a horribly painful 2023 season. At least, the Reds still have Bell to keep the team competitive – maybe only 90 losses next year. James Click is available. He’d be a nice replacement for Krall.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      It’s a minor league signing not a big league signing. Not sure why you would be mad that the team picked up a guy who had a very good season in AAA last year on a minor league deal during the first or second day of free agency.

      • LDS

        @FT, it’s not the pickup itself. It’s the pattern. He’ll be in Cincy by May 1st. Same thing, year end and year out, except for Williams’ 2019 flourish that ended with his departure.

    • Harry Stoner

      90 losses?

      Ten fewer bullpen meltdowns or ten fewer Mike Minor shellings or ten fewer times watching Barrero, Aquino or the AAA catcher of the month flail at sliders in the 9th.
      Maybe ten fewer times wondering what Bell had on his mind.

      “It ain’t love, but it’ll have to do until the real thing comes along.”

  4. Frankie Tomatoes

    Was hoping to see Brandon Bailey get back to the big leagues but I guess his recovery just didn’t quite get there.

    • Optimist

      Good point, but, Doug may know a lot more about this. I suspect he’ll re-sign, unless someone else makes him a much better offer. He didn’t pitch at all last year, there wasn’t much reason to add him to the 40-man, and unless it comes down to $$$, where else will he have a better chance to make it back to MLB?

      That said, I expect several, of not many, of these guys re-sign with the Reds.

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    I think these number of players becoming FA are close to an a half of the Louisville Bats roster so if none or even just few of them are re-signed then the AAA team will have a lot of holes to fill…
    Let’s continue waiting for the Reds 40-man roster cleaning coming soon…

    • MBS

      AAA could still be deep

      1B McGarry
      2B McLain
      3B CES
      SS EDLC
      DH Johnson
      C Free
      RF Hurtubise
      CF Siani
      RF Hopkins

      • RedsGettingBetter

        Yes, for this reason , I commented there will be holes to fill , you are promoting some guys from AA to AAA

      • MBS

        I did, but I think those are reasonable starting points for those guys. Johnson is the biggest stretch. I didn’t add Barrero, or Steer, but there is an argument that they could benefit from starting 23 in AAA.

        You’re right of course, we’d still need to add some veteran reclamation projects, and a few AAAA players to have a complete team.

      • Jim Walker

        It would be a breath of fresh air to see a Reds AAA squad comprised of mainly legitimate position prospects versus the usual group of mostly career minor leaguers and 4A guys looking for one last MLB round.

    • Optimist

      Not really much of an issue here – see MBS note as to the AAA roster next season. Mostly a move up or move out series of transactions. How many of these guys will produce even 1 WAR? If anything, as lots of comments note, it shows the depth built into the system over the past year.

  6. Votto4life

    Astros win the World Series and they offer their GM a one year contract, which he then declines. They then fire Assistant GM. Nick Krall’s team losses 100 games and even suggesting he should be replaced is crazy talk.

    • Jim Walker


      Just shows Krall is running the store like his bosses want it run.

    • LDS

      Remember, the Phillies fired Garardi about 1/3 of the way through the season, at 22-29. Thomson takes over, goes 65-46, and goes to the World Series. Bell manages to a 100 losses and is back next year. Managers matter. As do family connections apparently.

    • RLR

      If the Braves don’t resign Dansby, or any other top tier shortstop, they will do what they always do: replace with someone in their stacked system or trade for a quality short term solution. I like Farmer, but Atlanta has a better option already: Vaughn Grissom. He is probably already better than Farmer as a batter and fielder, and he is probably cheaper as a player with less than one year of mlb experience. Atlanta is too well run of an organization to think Kyle Farmer is a short term solution at SS, those kind of bad decisions are left for teams like the Reds.

  7. Votto4life

    If Atlanta gets shut out for the top free Agent shortstops, look for the Braves and Reds to work out a deal for Kyle Farmer.

  8. Brad

    I could see the Reds getting some pretty decent free agents at the minor league level for next year. Sign with an invite to the major league camp. The Reds are going to be fielding a AAAA at best next year so this is a way to get to the big leagues for some that would never had a chance with another team. That way they can try to hook on with a real MLB team later after they show what they can do. Never forget the Reds motto “must align our payroll to our resources” or “my (little Phil) wallet must get fatter”.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree but even among this group, a number of the top tier guys will probably be offered more money elsewhere as contingency MLB backups on ice for contenders.

    • TR

      The slowest part of the season for Red’s news from the end of the WS to the ML meetings in early December and then the caravan. I hope Phil Castellini, the Red’s COO, is not a featured speaker at one extension of the caravan for the sake of the fanbase.

  9. RedsGettingBetter

    Yes, for this reason , I commented there will be holes to fill , you are promoting some guys from AA to AAA

  10. Rednat

    kind of off the subject, but related. I went to the Indiana Pacers game tonight. usually on a saturday night in Indy there would be a packed house but the arena was about 30 % empty. the Pacers have a good young team now (that may even make the playoffs this year) but like the reds they have lost so much credibility with the fanbase with questionable, cost cutting moves it will be hard to gain the fans trust again.

    I am concerned that even if the reds eventually have a good team (who knows if and when that will happen), will the fans come back as the team has been so bad for so long. have we reached the point of no return from the apathy and indifference that has set in?

    • CI3J

      There might be a slight uptick in attendance if the Reds have a winning record by the start of June, with attendance slowly increasing through the summer if the Reds keep winning.

      There’s no doubt GABP would be absolutely packed for the playoffs, though.

      The Dusty teams in 2010 and 2012 had good attendance after the team stunk for most of the decade, I’m pretty sure that same dynamic would play out again if the Reds were to ever be legitimately good again.

    • Votto4life

      Rednat, you are right, it’s been 31 years since this team has won a championship. But even worse, how competitive have the Reds been during that time span? A handful of times?

      You can’t continue to put an inferior product on the field and expect it not to effect your fan base.

      Sure, if the Reds made the playoffs, fans would probably show up, but would they show up on a Tuesday night in April?

      It’s not about fans showing up to the play-offs, it’s about fans showing up to the other 81 home games a year.

      Cincinnati is one of the smallest markets in baseball. A lot has to go right for this team to draw decent crowds. Fielding a minor league team is not the way to go about it.

      The Castellinis are absolutely ruining this market for baseball. Even if Bob sold the team tomorrow, it would be difficult for a new owner to come in and turn things around.

      If Cincinnati loses this team, it will never get another one.

    • Votto4life

      His very first sentence claims the Reds don’t have any payroll flexibility.

      How can they not have any payroll flexibility? Last season they had Minor, Drury, Solano and Pham on the payroll. Now they are all gone and the Reds still don’t have any payroll flexibility??

      People who think the Reds are going to go on a spending spree after Moose and Votto come off the books are really fooling themselves.

      • Votto4life

        Duh, I forgot to mention Castillo and Mahle salaries!!

        How in the world can the Reds not have any payroll flexibility??

    • Old-school

      Reds payroll last year $110 million.
      Multiple reports is its going down significantly.
      But, its not a winning window, so why sign a bunch of Tommy Pham’s and 1 year SP rentals over 30 at $10 mil when the purpose of 2023 is to see which players develop and DON”T develop. Nick Senzel and Jose barrero are 2 big reasons why you need to see what you have and what you dont have going into 2024.

      Does Spencer Steer develop?
      Does Matt Mclain become Senzel 2.0?
      Does India reclaim his ROY status?
      Does Stephenson stay healthy?
      Does Siani turn into a MLB elite defensive CF with decent bat or TJ Friedl 2.0?
      Does EDLC and Marte become cornerstones of the left side of the infield?
      Does the young pitching develop?
      Does Diaz repeat and establish himself as a dominant reliever and do Santillan, Antone come back healthy and dominant?

      Let the Moose and Votto contracts expire and the kids develop or not develop to identify where to allocate resources in 2024.

      • LDS

        @OldSchool, the Reds don’t have outfield solutions in the queue, nor relievers, nor backup catchers. Spending money is the responsible thing to do. If these jackals had to report to a real board of directors, like public companies do, things would change. Obviously, the Castellini’s aren’t operating the Reds as a going concern, merely a family funding source.

      • Old-school

        They will spend money on a backup catcher and reliever depth and OF depth and SP depth. It just won’t be $40 million. It will be $15 million.

      • Votto4life

        @Old school that is not what the article stated. The article stated the Reds DO NOT have any payroll flexibility. It doesn’t state the Reds have money and choose not to spend it.

        It states clearly, in the very first sentence, the Reds do not have any payroll flexibility.

        If the Reds truly do not have any financial resources available after slashing payroll last season, then Bob Castellini really needs to sell the team and let someone who can afford to own a major league team purchase the Reds.

        As LDS states, Castellini is using the team as a cash cow without investing the competitive balance and TV contract monies back into the team. MLB should not permit it, but everyone is getting rich, so the other owners have no concern for the baseball fans in this market. The worst that can happen is the Reds will falter in this market and be moved to another city.

      • Old-school

        We aren’t disagreeing. Krall is saying the Reds payroll will go down from $110 million. It currently sits at $75 million. They will spend money and perhaps trade or nontender Farmer but add payroll too to get to lets say $90 million.

        $90 million is a 20 mil payroll cut and no flexibility from 2022 payroll. Its also $15 mil more than now.

        Cincinnati Enquirer today had top 100 private businesses. Castellini dropped from # 12 to # 19 in revenues in his produce business down $50 million from 2020 to 2021 to $900 million. Reds dropped to low 80’s and no numbers released. Dont know how they calculate Reds top 100 private businesses revenue without income but Castellini controlling 2 of the top 90 private owned businesses in Cincinnati.

    • Old-school

      Interesting Nightengale says the Reds are still working through decisions on the most likely to return and spotlights Farmer at 5.9 mil. Non-tendering Farmer would give you a legit 1 year rental SP and there’s always a Matt Reynolds available for depth while waiting for McLain,EDLC,Barrero, and Steer to develop or not develop. He also says Aquino is gone.

      • Votto4life

        If the Reds truly have limited payroll flexibility, I don’t know how they can even consider spending $6 Million on Kyle Farmer.

      • LDS

        Farmer? He’s Bell’s guy. He’ll likely be this years starting SS. Won’t be surprised if Barrero opens in Louisville