The Cincinnati Reds made three roster moves earlier today, and it didn’t take them very long to add to it. Just after 1pm the Reds announced that they had placed starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft on the 15-day injured list and had called up right-handed reliever Ricky Karcher from Triple-A Louisville.

Starting with Graham Ashcraft, this move is related to his being struck by a comebacker in yesterday’s start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After initially remaining in the game, he exited in the 3rd inning and limped off of the field under his own power.

Cincinnati had been in a 6-man roster in the short term as they brought up Andrew Abbott. The left-handed starter filled in on Monday for Hunter Greene, who is dealing with hip tightness and was pushed to Sunday. With Ashcraft heading to the injured list for at least the next two weeks, the Reds are back to a 5-man rotation.

For now, Ricky Karcher will be joining the Reds bullpen. Added to the 40-man roster in November, Karcher has really good stuff. But he also struggles to throw it anywhere near the plate with any sort of consistency. This season with Louisville he’s walked 34 batters and given up 23 earned runs in 22.1 innings. That’s a 9.27 ERA for those of you that couldn’t do the math in your head.

Things have been a bit better of late for Ricky Karcher, but that’s simply a matter of comparison to just how bad things were to begin the season. From May 5th through May 30th, Karcher threw 14 innings and didn’t allow a run. He walked 10 batters in 14.0 innings, though. That’s a big improvement from where things had been on the control front, but it’s still bottom of the line control. In his last two outings he’s allowed five runs in 1.0 combined inning and walked three batters with three strikeouts.

Combined with the call up of Joel Kuhnel earlier today and the Reds bullpen just added two pitchers who have combined to throw 46.1 innings in Triple-A this season and given up 42 earned runs. One pitcher hasn’t missed any bats and the other one has walked 1.5 batters per inning he’s pitched.

73 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Well at least McLain and De La Cruz are used to playing and trying to win with bad pitching in AAA.

  2. Moon

    hopefully, as Doug stated in his other article, this is a short term event due to needing arms available immediately and not a longer term solution. Otherwise I would prefer Salazar to either of these guys.

    • SR

      Salazar’s numbers, with exception of that one bad inning have been solid. His pitches move, horizontally and vertically. He seems to be a keeper. The two guys they just brought up, and their numbers,point out just how thin the pitching inLouisville is. Almost every game seems to be a game time decision on who is starting. I think Kelly lines up his pitching staff and picksthe guy whose knuckles are the furthest from dragging the ground to start. This is not just a Reds issue though as is evidenced by how many runs the Reds farm teams are scoring in their come from behind slugfests. The guy they Redbirds started yesterday had a double digit ERA and it went up. They are signing pitchers from leagues I didn’t know existed because there aren’t any arms in the usual discard piles. When you keep DFAing players, especially pitchers, and they come back to Louisville unclaimed, that is really telling. I think the answer is to convert some AAA starters to relievers, at least temporarily. Force them to pitch to contact instead of this nibbling BS that appears to be DJ’’s mantra.

    • AMDG

      I have to give Kershaw credit for saying of Bell:
      “I don’t agree with a lot their manager did”

      You’re not alone Kershaw!
      Many of us don’t agree with a lot that Bell does either 🙂

    • Optimist

      Interesting comments, especially about “a lot their manager did”. Kershaw won’t be around for it, but I expect the robo-ump will have a noticeable impact, especially for those trying to pitch to specific umpires sweet spots, or player-variable strike zones. Bell getting tossed the day before seems like a shot in that direction. I wonder how many back offices are sending in K-zone graphics to the league – there must be a tipping point when change is made.

      The other, much lesser aspect, is the entire “lose-gracefully-down-6-in-the-9th” implication, which is a nice warning that the Reds are sick of that approach as well.

    • JB

      Kershaw probably just mad because they lost the series. If they won all three games he probably doesn’t say squat.

      • Moon

        Not only won two games but had massive celebrations after both. I have no doubt that rubbed a few of the Dodgers the wrong way…

    • MBS

      Most importantly, who cares what Kershaw said?

      • greenmtred

        Precisely. Hypocrisy is bad look for anybody.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Exactly! My advice to Kershaw is 1) get a haircut, 2) get a shave and 3) shut the “f” up!

    • TR

      The poor mighty Dodgers, losing a series to the Reds.

    • Melvin

      He doesn’t have to criticize Bell. RLN already has that covered. 🙂

  3. Optimist

    Hoping Joe Boyle gets thru 2 or 3 more good starts. Karcher seems like a lesser version of Boyle, and along with Kuhnel is likeliest to be DFA very soon as the roster crunch sets in. OTOH, seize this opportunity and impress us all.

    Q for anyone (and Doug of course) – any word on expected returns of all the IL pitchers – who is sooner, who is later – off the top of my head thinking Santillan, Dunn, Stoudt, Antone, Law and Legumina are all sooner. VladGut and Overton are later – correct? Some of those are better help than Karcher/Kuhnel.

      • Optimist

        Thanks – several big unknowns there, and also some in-a-month-or-2. May be an ugly stretch here for a few weeks.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll start thinking about Antone returning once he goes on an actual rehab assignment. He’s already had two different setbacks this year. I hate it for the guy, but until he gets on the mound in games that count in the standings at some level of professional baseball…..

      Legumina’s on a rehab assignment now, so he should be back soon. Overton’s out for the year. Gutierrez is in Arizona throwing bullpen sessions, but I wouldn’t expect him before August if at all this year.

      • Optimist

        Thanks Doug – I was thinking Overton and VladGut are the two out until next season (and not that they were big difference makers in any event). Same with Dunn, though he could have helped a bit more. Antone is simply sad, though if anyone gets the longest amount of patience he’s it.

  4. JB

    Karcher and Kuhnel are terrible. Hoping they don’t even come close to entering the game. The only reason they are up here is because they were on the 40. I watched Karcher and he could have walked the ball to the plate and still missed. Neither should enter the game unless down by 20.

  5. AMDG


    I think the Reds would be better served bringing up Alejo Lopez or Vosler to pitch :/

  6. Votto4life

    Again it was very foreseeable that one or more of the “Big three” would either underperform or miss time due to injuries. The Red’s front office did not do nearly enough to strengthen the rotation during the off-season. If they fail to address the problem this off-season, then we will just be waiting around for the next re-build.

    • Rednat

      i agree. if the reds are really serious about competing next year. I think they have to
      go out and get 3 starters and a one stud outfielder through free agency or trade. I’m thinking a Dave Parker like signing that can hit in the 5 hole to protect edlc.

    • JayTheRed

      I think more realistic is the Reds should go get at least 1 solid starting pitcher. Two would be better, Three I don’t think they would do that with all the young arms we have. @Rednat I would like to see 1 consistent OF’er signed for sure.

      • Votto4life

        I would rather see them use every available dollar on pitching. If the plan is to use Steer in LF and Friedl in CF. I think they could get by with Fraley and a RH platoon partner in RF. But yeah, adding a middle of the line up bat to play RF wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

      • Melvin

        Teaching CES or Marte to play the outfield would solve a lot of problems.

      • Daniel Kals

        I think Sonny Gray would be a no-brainer signing in the offseason. At age 34 next year, wouldn’t be commanding the biggest bucks, and he is having a good season this year. 2.28 ERA, 1.24 WHIP. That said, he’s at 3.55 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over his last 7 games, so worth watching if he is starting to wear down or not. Not sure of the rest of the free agent crop out there that will be available.

    • Brian

      Maybe it should be foreseeable that it might be premature to label 3 guys that hadn’t even picked 20 games a piece the “Big 3”. Guys that are still restricted on innings per season are only a Big ?.

  7. KG

    Got to be somebody better at AA. Those Karcher stats might possibly be the worst minor league stats for a pitcher to get promoted to the majors in Reds history.

  8. redfanorbust

    Obviously the bad news beat goes on for Reds pitching. We currently have 10 pitchers on the IL. Not that they are the only ones suffering pitching woes in MLB for sure but the Reds going into the season had little wiggle room for SP as we only had our big three. They were supposed to carry the bulk of the load, now we are down to the big one. Sounds like we are in for a lot of 10-8 games win or lose for the rest of the season unless somehow the big two get over their injuries, find out why they were getting rocked before their injuries even happened and perform like we thought they would at the beginning of the season. Does not look like we will be making any trades for pitching for a number of good reasons. I will be keeping my dreams of making the playoffs this year a secret and not tell myself and really focus on next year. Still going to be fun to watch our young team grow and hit.

    • Votto4life

      No guarantee the division will be weak again next season. If the Reds are this close 5 or 6 games out) at the AS break, they should spend a little prospect capital to improve the pitching staff this season.

      The Reds had a strong finish in 1999 and everyone thought they would be a shoe in to make the post season in 2000. It didn’t happen for another 10 years

  9. LDS

    Kuhnel & Karcher, is that an improvement on Salazar, who was decent last night? We’ll see I guess. But the glow of the Big 3 has sure faded a third of the way into the season.

    • Doc

      If they can pitch tonight, and Salazar can’t, then yes, they are better. It’s not a long term move. Kuhnel and Karcher might be wise to be ‘hurt’ after tonight!

      • LDS

        Haha, that does seem to happen with the Reds

  10. MBS

    It’s almost criminal not to make a trade for a SP at this point. I don’t know where the innings are going to come from. Stoudt will be called up next, but he, and Williamson are not MLB quality starters. Weaver and Lively can only spin up magic for so long. Greene is the last man standing of the big 3, maybe a 4th has been added in Abbott. There’s an outside chance that Phillips can join the group soon. He’s been good in AA, but not great (his last start was), and hasn’t pitched one game in AAA yet.

  11. Redgoggles

    Elly throws 100, maybe give him a shot at a BP role? We have plenty of infielders. lol.

  12. JB

    Ashcraft and Lodolo will be back. Trying to trade for a starting pitcher will cost you big time this year. Every team is in need of one and the price will be huge. Not sure if that’s worth it right now. In the off season maybe. it all depends how these pitchers end the next 4 months. By the end of the year 5 of these guys might make a solid rotation. All of them are young and first or second year. Lively is what 30? And has pitched good until the last start. Weaver is 30 and who knows by the end of the year he might get us something in a trade. Just stick with these guys in Greene,Lodolo,Ashcraft, Williamson,Abbott and others coming. I mean one week ago everybody wrote this team off for 2024 or later. I’m still riding the playoffs 2023 until otherwise. Trading away good young talent right now is foolish.

    • Optimist

      Correct – may be a very ugly week ahead, but very foolish to panic now or even seek a SP this season. For kicks and giggles both Gray and Mahle are FAs this winter, so there are 2 very obvious re-signing possibilities, even taking Mahle’s rehab into account. The dilemma they’ll have in the off season is that they will have many, many 4th or 5th starters, and unless Greene finishes consistently and uninjured this season, no 1 or 2 top of rotation aces. In which case I fear they’ll not sign another and let next season be further sorting of the staff.

      Only consolation to all that is if they finally invest in help for Diaz and the pen.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Should have never let Gray go!

      • old-school

        No offense Doug…Id rather have Sonny!!!!

      • VaRedsFan

        They absolutely should have let him go. DJ had him throwing max effort and he was constantly breaking down…He only pitched a partial season last year.

        So you are basing this on what?? 10 or so starts 2 years later?

    • MBS

      Mortgaging the future is foolish, but trading away prospects is baseball. It’s like any budget you have in life, know what you can afford to spend, and don’t go over it. I trust Krall to make a move, or not make a move if that’s the best thing. He’s been prudent, and he’s won most of the trades he’s made so far.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Agree 1000 percent. EVERY team needs pitching, the cost would be huge. KEEP our young talent.

  13. Laura

    Wow, I was kinda hoping we’d take 2 or 3 games from the Cards in the next few days, but Karcher and Kuhnel will be there with their gas cans in tow so now I’m hoping we win at least 1.

  14. Steve Schoenbaechler

    What do I see? I see more pitchers on IL. . .again. I swear they need to look at how they are handling the pitchers either once they get up here or in the transition from AAA to here. I mean, just consider all the pitchers we have called up “who have been prospects for us”. Lodolo, Greene, Vlad, Overton, Sims, Tony S, does Antone even exist anymore. . .of all of them, how many got through their second season without missing major time? First season? Season after season, I see this and not from other teams. We need to look at this.

    • Melvin

      I’m not an expert on pitching but it would seem that the emphasis on spin rate these days would have a lot to do with more injuries.

    • Doc

      And, yet, not too many years ago the Reds used only five starters all season, excepting one call up for a double header game. My, my, how it has changed.

    • VaRedsFan

      Are just now noticing? We call that the Derrick Johnson effect.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Currently their are 232 players on the MLB Injured list. Of those 166 are pitchers. I don’t think the Reds coaches or trainers are doing any better or worse than any of the other teams. Just the way it is.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Not even an elementary school analysis. Check the teams. Check the preceeding years. Check how many years the pitchers have been in the league.

        Why all the latter? I do believe that’s what I mentioned.

    • greenmtred

      Other teams don’t have frequent pitcher injuries? I’m not arguing, just wondering where you found the information.

  15. Dennis Westrick

    Karcher’s propensity to walk batters will fit in quite nicely with some of the other BP pitchers who seem compelled to walk a batter in the single inning they are allowed to pitch!

    There’s an old adage in baseball: “There is NO DEFENSE for a walk!”

    For now, it is what it is, as the Reds need bodies to head to the mound!

    Finally, it would be extremely helpful for any and all of the Reds SPs to strive to make it thru 6 innings without handing the bullpen a 5 or 6 run deficit!

    Trying to think positive and that starts with a win tonight against the Dirty Birds!

  16. Beaufort Red

    Listening to some on here wanting to trade for one or two starters and a middle of the order hitter is insane. Do they not realize what it would take to possibly rent a player for one or two years. We’re a great story right now but what happens if we start to fade. Now we’ve leveraged our depth and we’re back to square one. Every team is going through the same or similar problems. We don’t have the wherewithal to throw cash or prospects and compromise our future. Remember everyone was counting on 2024. Just enjoy the ride for now.

    • AC

      They could definitely get a #2 type starter for a package around Newman and Myers. Don’t you read the comments on this site?

  17. Eddiek957

    Even the few times Lively wasn’t good, he burnt seven innings. You need around eight starting pitchers for a season it seems

  18. Old-school

    Reds need more pitching. I could see a scenario like 2019 where the Reds trade some top 10-20 prospects in areas off depth. . Hopefully Krall and DJ can identify established pitchers that can help now and in the future. The Royals are open for business. I like Scott Barlow. BUllpen is a quick fix improvement to the 13 man.Hes controlled in 2024 as well. This is a big series with the Cards as Cubs are pretty much shutting the season down and while the Cards dont do that they are at the bottom of the NL and nothing better than sending them further down. See what the next few weeks brings.

    SP costs are at a premium mid-season for prospect capital so rule that out. It’s going to be a terrible team wanting to shed payroll( Royals/A’s,etc ) or an underperforming expensive vet who needs a new setting. i doubt any big scenarios evolve for the Reds this season. Off-season more likely.

  19. Kevin H

    I am confused as to why some are talking about trading for pitching. If this year is to see what the Reds have then just go with the flow. Starting pitching from the beginning was thin and that is on the Gm and upper management.

    Bullpen has been great. Gibaut and Farmer have been solid. Young and Simms as well. Diaz fantastic. Then Law who’s out right now. Herget and Salazar have been good. As well as the pitcher on a rehab assignment.

    Remember as well Reds had 3 starters who were under control and they traded all 3!!! So this was bound to happen, and yes they got some great players in return, however Starting pitching is what it is as a outcome

    • Melvin

      Any team that is going to trade us the kind of starting pitching we want will expect a lot more than we want to give.

  20. MBS

    We have an abundance of prudent RLN commenters.

    India, Stephenson, Fraley, Friedl, Steer, McLain, EDLC (7) //// Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Abbott, Diaz, Young (6) (7+6=13)

    Almost Here
    CES (8+6-14)

    Likely Here during 24
    Marte (9) //// Phillips, Richardson, Boyle (9) (9+9=18)

    Also Here, but solid role players
    Senzel, Barrero, Benson, Hopkins (13) //// Gibaut (10) (13+10=23)

    Might returns

    Santillan, Gutierrez, SanMartin, Dunn, Antone (15) (13+15=28)

    That’s not counting Sims or Newman who only have a year of control, or Robinson, Pereda, Hurtubise, Free, or Lopez who are all having really good years in the minors and could factor into the 24 season.

    This is MLB pipeline’s 16 – 30 Reds Prospect list. Obviously any trade has to make sense, but there is not a guy on this list that I wouldn’t deal to make 23 a better season.

    Acosta, Hinds, Tanner, Hubbard, Almonte, Hendrick, Siani, Balcazar, Duno, Torres, Rodriguez, Karcher, Richardson, Callihan

    • JB

      Quite a few of those guys in last paragraph are having crappy years.

      • David

        Prospects or suspects? Yeah, take out a few of the big bright stars from the Reds farm system, and the rest aren’t that good.

    • MBS

      Just the back half of our top prospects, also I’m looking for a band aid, not an ace.

      The ones I’d suspect that would draw interest would be Duno, Acosta, Balcazar, Rodriguez, and Richardson, all looking good, and all young. The rest would be pieces to finish the right deal.

      • MBS

        @JB, “ Quite a few of those guys in last paragraph are having crappy years.” So I can assume that you’d be OK with trading these guys if the deals right.

  21. JB

    The fear I have in trading for a number 1 pitcher , like Bieber, is the Front office doesn’t sign him to an extension. It will take , in my opinion, a top prospect to get him. Let’s say they trade Marte for Bieber, he had what 1or2 years left on contract? If you’re giving up Marte or another high prospect , you better sign said pitcher to an extension. I fear the front office won’t.

  22. Kevin H

    So question for all. With Votto, Myers, Senzel, and Friedl coming back soon. Who do you send down. Do you cut Myers? Do you send down Barrero and Hopkins or Benson? Then I assume one of the catchers is gone, however of not then who else goes down?

    Alot of decisions to be made, oh and CES is he up soon? So another player move. Yikes!!!

    • David

      That’s a tough yet straightforward problem.
      The predicate of all this is…does the Reds Front Office think that the Reds could actually be competitive for the Wild Card or Division title, and get into the playoffs?

      What if Myers does nothing on his rehab assignment at AAA?
      Release him and eat his contract. What if he does?
      When Friedl comes back, then one of three outfielders would be sent down:
      Hopkins, Fairchild or Benson. Who’s hitting and hot? Fairchild to me, has one advantage, and that is that he can play all three outfield positions and play them well. But he may well be seen as the weakest of the three offensively, at this time.

      Benson is left handed, which helps balance out the present Right-handed heavy lineup. I think he also has power to burn. If he gets more playing time in the next few days, he may really start to light it up.
      Also, when Friedl comes back, then theoretically, you don’t need Barrero to step in and play CF. With EDLC and McClain up here (who can both play SS), do we also need Barrero to play SS at all? He hardly gets any playing time, and his career might be better suited to playing everyday in AAA…for a while. Lots of commenters here think just that, too. I think I read here the other day, that he has something like 17 days he can spend at AAA before they burn his last minor league option. Maybe they can trade Kevin Newman before that, and get something , and then retrieve Barrero. Or not….
      One of the catchers has to go. One of the commenters this afternoon thought the Guardians (the Cleveland team!) might be interested in having Maile back, since neither of their catchers are hitting worth squat.

      Lastly, I hope Joey Votto catches fire in AAA, gets his stroke back and has a great remaining 2023 season with Cincinnati. But if he just doesn’t hit, what will the Reds and Joey do?
      Would Joey admit he should retire? Would they cut the rehab short, to not burn it, and then send him down in another month? Another month in limbo?
      To make room for CES, somebody else has to go off the 40 man; either released, or traded or whatever. Trade Newman to somebody, release Wil Myers, who is not hitting, trade Maile or Casilas to relieve the catching log jam.
      If CES comes up, he will do a lot of DH work. Which means that Stephenson will NOT do much more DH work. And if Joey comes back, he will likely DH a lot too.

      • Ponyboy

        The most levelheaded post I’ve read in awhile. Thanks for the common sense David.

  23. Soto

    I would imagine that the Reds will keep Myers on his rehab assignment for as long as possible.

  24. Colorado Red

    I still wonder if Graham was hurt before. His last serval starts he as stunk.
    This may be a blessing ?