The Cincinnati Reds have designated right-handed starting pitcher Luke Weaver for assignment. Weaver signed with the club on a 1-year deal prior to 2023 after having spent the 2022 season in the bullpen for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals. Cincinnati was going to put him back in the rotation where he had spent much of his big league career from 2016-2021.
To say that things didn’t work out would be generous. Weaver made 21 starts and threw 97.0 innings while posting a 6.87 ERA, allowing 125 hits – 24 of which were home runs – and he had 34 walks to go along with 85 strikeouts. He took the mound every 5th day, but he also struggled nearly every 5th day. He had two quality starts on the season and only threw 6.0 innings four times and only once recorded an out in the 7th inning. That also happened to be the only game in which he didn’t give up a run. After no start during the entire season was his ERA ever lower than 5.36. And only have his final two starts in May was his ERA after any start below 6.00.
Cincinnati seemed to stick with him in the rotation as their options were limited to Weaver, career minor leaguers and independent league signings, or prospects who were really struggling in the minor leagues for the most part. Injuries in the rotation played a big role in that as both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo have spent more than the last two months injured, eating away at some of the depth the club did have in the rotation.
That, though, may be why now is the time that Luke Weaver has been designated for assignment. Last night Hunter Greene completed what was expected to be his final rehab start in Triple-A. He struck out nine batters and gave up one hit in 5.2 innings pitched and is expected to join the rotation later this week. That meant that someone was going to be bumped and it makes all of the sense in the world that it’s Weaver.
His designation for assignment opens up a spot on the 40-man roster. That likely will not be filled until the team activates Hunter Greene later this week. The 26-man roster spot vacated by Weaver’s removal is being filled for now by Alan Busenitz, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville where he has a 2.48 ERA in 40.0 innings on the season. He also has a 4.50 ERA in 4.0 innings with the Reds from earlier this season.