Earlier this month the Cincinnati Reds designated five pitchers for assignment and all of them cleared waivers. Among that group of five pitchers was right-handed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez. While some of the players that were designated for assignment opted to take free agency, Gutierrez didn’t do so immediately. Perhaps there was a rules-related reason for that, but the Cuban righty has now opted to become a free agent.
Cincinnati signed Vladimir Gutierrez in September of 2016 as a free agent. He was just 20-years-old when he signed, though he would turn 21 a few weeks later.He’d begin his minor league journey in 2017 and spend the entire season in Daytona. In 2018 he’d spend the entire season in Double-A Pensacola. Then in 2019 he pitched the entire season in Triple-A Louisville. During 2020 he didn’t pitch in the big leagues, and in 2021 he saw time in Triple-A with th eBats before being called up to Cincinnati where he made 22 starts and posted a 4.74 ERA.
In 2022 things went south for Gutierrez. He made eight starts before being moved to the bullpen for what turned out to be his final two outings of the season. In total he threw 36.2 innings with a 7.61 ERA before he was injured and underwent Tommy John surgery. He missed the final three months of 2022 and then all of 2023 as he recovered. He did, however, begin a rehab assignment in the minor leagues in late July, making five appearances but he was shut down after a setback in his August 12th outing for Triple-A Louisville. Gutierrez didn’t return to the mound the rest of the year.
While it feels unlikely that Gutierrez was going to be in the running for a spot in the rotation if everyone was healthy, there was a chance he could have helped the bullpen. And if not, he could have provided some starting pitching depth for the club if he was in Triple-A. It’s possible for the club to bring him back, but they’ll also have to compete with other teams for his services at this point.