The Cincinnati Reds designated five pitchers for assignment this week. Justin Dunn, Vladimir Gutierrez, Alan Busenitz, Brett Kennedy, and Connor Overton all cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A Louisville.
Three of those pitchers were dealing with injuries or returning from injuries last year. Vladimir Gutierrez had Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2022. He began his comeback in the second half, but he suffered a setback while rehabbing with Triple-A Louisville in August and was shut down. Connor Overton also had Tommy John surgery, but his came near the end of May after injuring himself in his third outing of the year a month prior with Cincinnati.
Justin Dunn, who has struggled off and on with a right shoulder injury since the middle of the 2021 season and has pitched in just seven big league games since June 18th of that season, underwent shoulder surgery late in the 2023 season. He had begun a rehab stint, pitching in two games with the complex league team in late August before making one appearance with Louisville before he was shut down. Shortly after it was announced that he would undergo surgery.
Brett Kennedy made a return to the big leagues for the first time since 2018 when he was with the San Diego Padres. He began the year pitching for the Long Island Ducks before being picked up on a minor league deal and sent to Triple-A Louisville. Cincinnati would call him up several times in the second half of the season and he pitched in five games, throwing 18.0 innings with a 6.50 ERA.
Alan Busenitz spent 2019-2022 pitching in Japan for Rakuten. In 2023 he returned stateside and signed with the Reds on a minor league deal in January. He pitched in six games for the Reds during the season – four in May, one in August, and one in October. During that time on a big league mound he allowed two runs in 7.0 innings with a walk and five strikeouts.
It’s not too surprising that they all cleared waivers. You just don’t know what you will get with Vladimir Gutierrez, Justin Dunn, or Connor Overton as they are all going to be working back from surgery and injuries. Kennedy and Busenitz are guys who have a combined 25.0 innings in the big leagues since the start of 2019.
Those five moves drops the Reds 40-man roster down to 38 players. That number does not account for Nick Lodolo, Reiver Sanmartin, or Graham Ashcraft – all of whom are on the 60-day injured list. They will have to be removed from the injured list once the World Series is over and will then count towards the 40-man roster. Five players are also free agents and or have a 2024 option that seems unlikely to be picked up (Joey Votto – option, Curt Casali – option, Harrison Bader – free agent, Luke Maile – free agent, and Buck Farmer – free agent). That should get the Reds under the roster limit when the time comes.