The Cincinnati Reds made a whole bunch of roster moves on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for the Arizona Diamondbacks series. The team activated starting pitcher Frankie Montas, which we knew was coming. They also activated outfielder TJ Friedl from the injured list after a 4-game rehab stint in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. Cincinnati is also adding otufielder Conner Capel to the roster, calling him up from Louisville. Heading to the minor leagues are Nick Martini and Bubba Thompson. To make room on the 40-man roster for Capel, the club moved pitcher Ian Gibaut to the 60-day injured list.

Let’s start with Conner Capel. He has played in 54 big league games over the past two years for St. Louis and Oakland. He’s hit .280/.366/.408 in that time with 17 walks and 35 strikeouts in 145 plate appearances. In the big leagues he’s only played in the corner outfield spots, but he has played center in the minor leagues – including this year with Triple-A Louisville. With the Bats this year he’s played 31 games and has hit .268/.397/.567 with 20 walks and 21 strikeouts.

Capel got out to a hot start, posting a 1.274 OPS in the first two weeks of the season. He’s cooled off a bit since, hitting .246/.351/.426 in his last 19 games with 11 walks and 17 strikeouts. The 26-year-old left-handed hitter has crushed righties in the minors this season, hitting .279/.405/.632. He’s held his own against lefties, hitting .241/.378/.414 with six walks and eight strikeouts. You can see his career stats here.

TJ Friedl will be making his season debut whenever he gets into a game. He’s coming back from a broken wrist suffered in the middle of spring training. In his four games on rehab he hit .250/.333/.438 with two walks and three strikeouts. Three of his four hits were doubles.

Nick Martini is heading to join Triple-A Louisville. Bubba Thompson, though, is heading to Double-A Chattanooga.

As for Ian Gibaut, nothing really changes much for him at this point. He’s been on the injured list all season (he attempted two different rehab stints and was called back from both of them) and the move to the 60-day injured list simply opens up a roster spot. Update: Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Gibaut will undergo surgery on Thursday, but the extent of it won’t be known just yet.

69 Responses

    • 2020ball

      Still a lot of dead takes around here too, yours is right there with em

      • Laredo Slider

        Sorry you can’t see the obvious, might need that 2020 checked.

      • 2020ball

        Got a suggestion for how they replace that dead weight or is your comment just another pleasant fart in the wind?

      • doofus

        It seems that you only come on this forum to criticize fellow members. Grow up. If you do not like what someone writes. Just keep your fingers off the keyboard. Act like an adult.

      • wkuchad

        Disagree doofus, he criticized a silly comment – “still a lot of dead weight”.

        I think he’s made his point clear. Criticize all you want, but what’s the alternative.

    • Brian

      Doofus is correct, 2020 is always putting someone down on here.

  1. Sean

    Curious where you think Capel fits in, Doug. He’s a fourth left-handed outfielder, but I can’t see him getting ABs other than when one of the others (Freidl/Fraley/Benson) needs a day off. Who would he pinch-hit for? Not one of those guys. Not Steer. Maybe India or Maile as part of a double-switch.

  2. David

    So will Capel play outfield, be a backup, DH, or what?
    With Martini gone, who will be the “everyday” DH against Right handed pitching, as that was Martini’s job?
    My guess is that Capel will play the field, and Fraley will be the lefty DH in place of Martini. Left handed outfield would be Capel, Fraley and Benson.
    TJ Friedl will also play against lefties, with Fairchild possibly still playing against left handed pitching.
    This might also lead to Spencer Steer coming in from Left to play 3rd base, and Mr. Candelario riding the pines.

    This does give David Bell more opportunities to move players around in position and lineup.

    • Tom Diesman

      I’m expecting something like the following:

      Vs RH

      Friedl CF
      India 2B
      De La Cruz SS
      Steer LF
      Fraley DH
      Encarnacion-Strand 1B
      Candelario 3B
      Stephenson C
      Benson RF

      Bench: Maile, Espinal, Fairchild, Capel

      Vs LH

      Friedl CF
      India DH
      De La Cruz SS
      Steer LF
      Encarnacion-Strand 1B
      Candelario 3B
      Stephenson C
      Fairchild RF
      Espinal 2B

      Bench: Maile, Fraley, Benson, Capel

      • MBS

        That’s probably about right. The only question is if they are committed to keeping Benson an everyday player, which would bump Fairchild back to the bench even vs lefties.

    • MK

      Do you think Fraley is a defensive liability? Is that why you would put him at DH rather than outfield?

      With what he is being paid, Candelario is going to play every day until Marte comes back. It is a business and that comes into play more than we would like to think.

      I would have liked to see a right-handed hitting outfielder brought back instead of Capel. Hinds was probably the only completely healthy option at this point and probably didn’t want to start his clock until he was more prepared.

      • David

        Fraley is no gazelle out there as an outfielder. Friedl, Benson, and Fairchild are better fielding outfielders. Have not seen Capel at all, but I would guess he is a better outfielder, too. Fraley is a good guy and hustles, but still not a really good outfielder, IMHO.
        Steer is a good hitter, like Fraley. There has to be a position somewhere for him. 😉
        Left field is as good as any.

      • Tom Diesman

        @MK. I do not think Fraley is a defensive liability. He and Benson are pretty much interchangeable. Just thought Fraley being a bit more experienced might handle the role better. Could be a good idea to have Benson/Fraley in LF/RF vs RH with Steer at DH now and again to give him a rest.

        @David. Fraley is at 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed which is 4th on Reds and Benson is 5th at 28.3. More gazelle than you perceive.

  3. DataDumpster

    No surprises here except that I was not aware that Gibault was not moved to the 60 day. So, why then did Moll have to go down to AAA? Freidl comes back, an outfielder and PR that rate near 0 effectively are sent down but apparently we still need another new outfielder (Cappel) in spite of the exceptional versatility positionally in this lineup. Bell has to play those old games of last year of getting somebody injured so that Moll can come back. Since this is not an in-game decision, I think Bell has thought this one out but some damage has already been done with Moll and Ford. Bell certainly didn’t have those guy’s backs and for what purpose?

    • Mark Moore

      Moll went down to make room for Frankie.

    • 2020ball

      Who are you cutting for Moll? Never do i see replacements suggested on this site, i cant even remember the last time honestly.

      Most of the complaints about bell have child level hyperbole attached around here too, dead takes indeed.

      • MBS

        I’d go Sims, but Wilson is the easier call. We have another lefty Young also rehabbing in AAA. So Young’s available to us if we need to add a southpaw.

        Moll has been our best reliever (including Diaz) since we traded for him last year. He shouldn’t be logging innings in AAA for any reason except for possible rehab innings.

        Really it’s just a poorly constructed pen. We got good talent that we can’t use because of lack of player options.

      • 2020ball

        There we go, thanks for a good take finally MB

      • Randoxu1

        Who are you cutting in favor of Moll. How about anybody but him. Sims, Diaz. We know this will never happen but he does have a 26 scoreless inning streak on top of he was out trade deadline acquisition. That’s how he is rewarded. It’s beyond stupid.

    • BhamRedsFan

      Ah those basic math skills (13 pitchers + 13 fielders) and understanding of MLB rules. They escape us sometimes.

  4. Gpod

    At least they are doing something. The article in the cin. enquirer highlighting and listing by date all the things that have gone wrong this season was a good read and does give insight to how we got here

    • doofus

      Gpod, can you please elaborate on the Enquirer article?

      Thanks.

      • Gpod

        written by Gordon Wittenmyer published today (i read it online): “How electric, young Cincinnati Reds turned into MLB’s worst hitting team in 59 days flat” Ran thru all the players who are struggling and put out a timeline starting on March 8th to May detailing, players, injuries and illness affecting the team causing certain players having to play (too much) and in batting lineup positions that they are not meant for….basically exposing their weakness with no other player options (i guess). Just seems like a lot of unfortunate happenings at a time when the reds starting playing a lot of good teams. Maybe some of these things will work it’s way out and the reds can get on the right path forward.

  5. old-school

    Capel has bat to ball skills with low K rate and good walk rate and OBP. Hopefully that translates at the big league level but that is the profile of a player the Reds needed to add to this strike out happy 26 man roster.

  6. docmike

    This is a good start. Martini and Thompson both needed to go, and it’s great having Friedl back. Remains to be seen how Capel will do, but he can’t be much worse.

    However, you still have struggling players like Espinal, CES, Candy, and Fairchild. Candy isn’t going anywhere, and he has a track record that tells you he should end up being a league-average hitter. Fairchild has an OPS of .673 against lefties, so I think he will be fine as long as he is only used as a pinch-hitter and occasional starter against LHP. Espinal is terrible and should not even be on the team, but unfortunately will be due to McLain’s injury. He would be a late-inning defensive replacement only.

    That brings me to CES, he of the ghastly .519 OPS. On the one hand, I don’t know what else he can prove in AAA, but on the other hand, he is an anchor in the Reds’ everyday lineup. I don’t know what the answer is there.

    • Optimist

      Need to move CES and Benson down the lineup – CES 6/7, Benson 8/9.

      • mac624

        Remember when RLN was questioning Bell because he kept putting Benson at the end of the lineup. Maybe he wasn’t as dumb for doing that as people thought. He clearly is overmatched at the top (at least for now), so get him back to the low end and get that confidence going again. As for CES, in a perfect world, he’d be back in Louisville, but that’s likely not going to happen, so I agree, move him down to the 7 hole and see how it goes for him.

    • 2020ball

      Who is your back-up SS if not Espinal?

      Never… just like i said above.

    • greenmtred

      Espinal is a player, like others on the Reds and on other teams, who is off to a very slow start. His career BA, .265, is not terrible, and he is a versatile and decent defensive player. He should be a backup, a utility player, and he would be if McLain and Marte were available.

  7. Optimist

    Good, OK, fair moves. As Jason L posted yesterday it’s a long season, and they’re in a big slump now, but it won’t last.

    Friedl and Montas certainly help, but will there be an adjustment for a few games before they return to regular form? Capel may earn his spot, and is younger, and if wins a game or two that’s about all that you can expect from the end-of-bench players.

    Still depends on the young regulars hitting, and trade deadline moves – looking at refreshing the bullpen and/or some MiLB reliever callups.

    Next 6 weeks seems like the toughest stretch, so if they can hold it near .500 they may be well setup for midsummer.

  8. doctorrockett

    Posted the Steer 7 hole stats a while back…they’re unbelievable. That’s where he needs to be. Candy’s stats in the 8 spot were also posted-where he’s excelled.

    Benson back at 9.

    TJ
    EDLC
    India (he’s been hitting)
    Fraley
    TySteve
    CES

  9. old-school

    lineups are out and I like x India in the 7 hole.
    id put India at leadoff and drop everyone else down 1 spot.

  10. Oldtimer

    At this point in 2023, Reds were 14-20.

    • Gpod

      That long win streak that the reds went on last year would be ok right now!

  11. Jack

    Should have kept Moll and brought up Santillan as well if you are interested in competing with you best team.

    • PTBNL

      And who would you cut off the 40 man?

    • David

      I agree, but there will have to be more roster moves. Somebody has to be “let go” from all this. Or traded. Or something.
      I am not satisfied with the bullpen as it presently exists, but last winter, Tony Santillan (for example) was a YUGE question mark. He seems physically ok now and doing well. A couple of other guys (Bruihl at AAA and Maxwell at AA) are doing REAL well, but the Reds might be cautious about those kinds of promotions. I would like to see Maxwell moved up to AAA level first.

  12. AllTheHype

    I will be very surprised if Friedl doesn’t find himself overmatched in the early going, considering only 4 games under his belt and not that much of a spring training. His timing can’t be great yet. He won’t be worse than Thompson, though.

    • Jim Walker

      +500. The issue from my viewpoint is whether Friedl had gotten all the good there was for him to get out of AAA. He should have been left there until they felt he had because getting him up prematurely may well result in it taking him longer to find his best groove at MLB than if he was left at AAA for more of the potential 20 day rehab.

      The Bats are at home this week. The Reds are in Cincy through Thursday. At the least, it would have made a certain amount of baseball sense to let Friedl get in another couple of games at AAA and come to Cincy on Thursday morning in time to catch the plane for the left coast.

      • AllTheHype

        Agree. Not the biggest fan of this move. The Reds desperately need the Friedl of 2023. But I suspect the fastest path to the Friedl of 2023 was several more games with the Bats, rather than in Cincy.

        On the other hand, if he proves us wrong and ramps up quicker than expected, then he might just prove himself to be the real deal.

  13. RedsGettingBetter

    I think the roster is better now after these moves, of course there still are things to be improved as the offense of CES, Candy and Benson who are underperforming. These week series are very huge for keeping in the NLC fight against D-backs and SFG. Hopefully Montas goes back to the shape of the first 2 outings of this year where he looked as an ace…

  14. doofus

    I would offer that India should play 3b when he is in the field, not 2b. I have seen turtles have greater range playing second than India.

    • CI3J

      I’ll never understand how India can be so athletic but seems to have the defensive range of Sean Casey.

      • Jason Franklin

        He lacks instincts and probably doesn’t set himself up correctly. Maybe he needs a defensive positioning trainer?

  15. doofus

    There seems to be other teams that have players that are not hitting well besides our Reds. Harper, Schwarber, Castellanos, Stott, Corbin Carroll, Arenado, Goldshmidt to name a few are hitting below their career averages.

    • doofus

      Add Vlad Guerrero and George Springer to the list.

    • Jim Walker

      Yes, the OPS+ 100 (league average) OOPS mark seems in the low .700s maybe even high .600s with a lot of low BA/OBP around MLB.

  16. GreatRedLegsFan

    After so much said and done, FO is still improvising the OF. The only truly regular is Friedl, everybody else just part time or bench players.

    • Tom Diesman

      That’s not true. Steer and Friedl are regulars and RF is a platoon of either Benson and Fraley with Fairchild which will grade out just fine.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree. I thought (or at least hoped) one of the pair of Benson/ Fraley would be in RF vs RHP and the other the DH vs RHP with Steer not jerked around.

        Benson playing “every day” was more about whether it was he or Fraley who would be more equal of the two when Friedl got back and who would get to stay in the game when a LH pitcher entered

        However, I do think they are short a RH bat. I’d guess Capel got the call b/c they don’t have one.

    • DaveCT

      That die was cast in the offseason.

      Funny thing is, though, with the type of key injuries we have had, the consequences are the same — too many guys playing more than their skills should allow, ie Martini, Thompson, even Fairchild and Espinal, than as if we’d had signed a big OF, full-time power bat and he’d been injured.

      We’d still be platooning the likes of the reserves. Virtually the same with losing Marte and McLain, We now have Candelario playing every inning, which was not forecast, as well as India. And we have Espinal instead of India and/or Marte getting a lot of time.

      Point is, you cannot lose three starting level players without straining your roster.

    • Jason Franklin

      Maybe they are hoping Dunn gets everthing flowing again here soon? Would love to see him brought up at some point to add some fire.

  17. DaveCT

    One benefit brought by Capel (whose off-season signing I liked much more than Ford’s) is he has one option remaining, as reported by MLTR. So, if/when more reinforcements arrive, ie Marte, even McLain, Capel can be optioned instead of exposed to via DFA. He may ultimately be DFA’d of course — no guarantees — but it provides, as we say, an option.

  18. Jimbo44CN

    This is for you Doug. I watched Hurtabise in ST and was very impressed and then he got hurt. He seems to have good on base skills and puts the ball in play, and plays a decent outfield. Have not been able to find anything on him as to his injury. Is he rehabbing, playing? Would really like to see him brought up when ready. thanks

    • RED THUNDER

      Not Doug- But Hurtabise just started rehab work, Arizona Complex League

  19. CI3J

    Am I alone in worrying that Friedl was rushed back and that he might re-injure his wrist, leading to another lengthy time on the sidelines?

    • Jim Walker

      I don’t know enough about wrist injuries to speak to your concern but I certainly think bringing a guy back on 4 rehab games who went down just as spring training was starting to seriously match MLB players vs each other was premature.

      Bell was clearly and publicly begging for him to be back. If the situation blows up on them, maybe he will be held personally accountable.

    • MBS

      I think you are, or at least I’m not worried. He was straight king the ball pretty well in AAA on his rehab. Short sample size but his avg exit velo was higher than it was last year. That might not be definitive proof, but it’s a good sign that his wrist is fine.

      • Jim Walker

        My concern is more that a guy who hadn’t played in a competitive game in 7 months is being thrown into the fire after 4 AAA games with huge expectations being loaded upon him to save the team’s season.

        Let’s not forget that last year was his (unexpected) breakout season in MLB at the age of 27. The Reds have several other guys more highly touted who are struggling mightily now in similar circumstances aside from age who didn’t miss a huge part of ST.

        I am hoping for the best but will be pleasantly surprised if he reaches his 2023 production rates prior to the All Star break.

      • MBS

        True, I’m not expecting Friedl to be our savior. The team needs to start hitting, he’s just 1 piece of a larger puzzle. Even the return of Marte and McLain won’t mean much if we got a team full of .200 hitters.

    • David

      TJ Friedl was probably chomping on the bit to come back. He had been doing “baseball” activities for about two weeks prior to his rehab at AAA Louisville. Running, fielding, throwing, bunting, then hitting either off a machine or BP pitching.
      Working it out actually makes the healing stronger, I think from what I understand about these kinds of breaks….limited, for sure.
      I would guess his wrist feels “OK”. People heal at different rates, and I am not a doctor and don’t know exactly how the break took place originally.
      I think having TJ back in the clubhouse and dugout probably helps a little too. He is a pretty energetic player.

  20. DW

    I like the moves. Capel up, along with BOTH Martini and Thompson down, was a surprise. Pretty happy with the lineup too.

    • Jason Franklin

      I liked it too, but I honestly would have just cut both of these guys. They don’t need taking time away from developing players.

  21. Dave

    They figured out how to make all these moves but couldn’t figure out a way to keep Sam Moll on the major league team! ?????

  22. Rod Andrews

    There’s no way injuries don’t affect a team. The projected 2nd and 3rd basement out before the season starts, nor has the CF played a single game yet(but ready now). That’s a lot of talent to lose, so I can understand their struggles. The biggest disappointment for me up to this point is CES. I truly thought he’d be the hitting star of this team, but clearly is behind schedule. If they can stay close for one more month I think they’ll be ok. McLain will be back sooner than expected, and Marte has a set time to be back with his 16 game hitting streak . Time is still on our side. The next 4-6 weeks will tell the story .