The Cincinnati Reds made three roster moves today. The team claimed right handed pitcher Tyrell Jenkins off of waivers from the Texas Rangers and outfielder Richie Shaffer from the Phillies. Their roster was at 39 players, so they needed to make room on the roster and they designated, and lost catcher Juan Graterol to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On Wednesday I wrote about the possibility of the Reds picking up Tyrell Jenkins and trying him out in the bullpen. He’s still got an option remaining, so if he’s not ready to help the team out of spring training he can be sent down to Triple-A Louisville where he can get some work in. He’s a former top 100 prospect, but he’s since had shoulder surgery that has cost him once top scale velocity. He still throws hard enough, but he’s struggled with control for quite a while now as a starting pitcher. You can read more about him at the link above.

Richie Shaffer will be 26-years-old when the 2017 season begins. He’s a former 1st round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays (2012) out of Clemson. He was quite successful in the minor leagues before the 2016 season, including a 2015 campaign in Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. Between the two stops, in 108 games he hit .267/.357/.539 with 27 doubles, a triple and 26 home runs.

He’s shown good power in the past, but in 2016 he really struggled in Durham. He hit just .227/.329/.367 with 27 doubles and 11 home runs. His strikeout rate was 27% in Triple-A, which is far higher than you’d like to see from a 25-year-old at that level, especially when he’s not hitting for the kind of power that he had shown the previous year. If he can find some of that power he showed in 2015, he could be a rather interesting back-up/role player off of the bench for the Reds.

Defensively he’s played on the corners in both the infield and outfield. He could play a bit of a super-sub role, getting playing time two or three times a week, rotating around various corner positions and filling in as a pinch hitter with some pop. He’s always shown a good ability to draw a walk, even in limited time in the big leagues. With Tampa Bay in 2015 and 2016 he hit .213/.310/.410 with 15 walks and 50 strikeouts in 142 plate appearances. That’s good enough to be a league average bat (99 OPS+), though it’s quite heavy on the swing-and-miss.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2004 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, contact him via email here or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

36 Responses

  1. Bradkon21

    Two positives. Both seemed like fairly obvious Reds claims. Hope Shaffer can fill 3B/1B/RF/LF bench spot. Hope Jenkins can become an impact reliever.

    One negative, missing out of Norge Ruiz. $2M was lower than the $2.5M I thought it would take to sign him. Cant help but draw a straight line to 2017 salaries of 4.7M for Cozart and 14M for Phillips limiting Reds International spending: Ruiz, Cionel Perez, Yanio Perez, etc.

    • Tyler Ricketts

      The Reds now have their 40-man at 41 guys on their website. Any idea which player is incorrectly on the 40-man roster?

      • James Walker

        Pretty much simultaneously with the announcement of who the Reds had received off waivers, they announced that catcher Juan Graterol was claimed off waivers by Arizona. Is he the 41st guy on the list?

  2. gaffer

    I doubt both of these guys make it to spring training on the 40 man anyway. The bigger story may be dropping the catcher Graterol. Does this mean Mes is OK or that they like the Rule V catcher they got?

    • Doug Gray

      I think it just means that Graterol was the guy they felt was the easiest to replace.

    • James Walker

      Zach Buchanan of the Enquirer tweeted that Graterol being on waivers reinforced his previous belief that the Reds were going to sign a veteran catcher on the cheap. On the latest Enquirer off season podcast, Zach and CTrent did not name names but suggested such a guy would likely be an MLB veteran willing to come into camp on a minor league deal.

      • Norwood Nate

        Which essentially means the Reds will have wasted 50k when they send back Turner. Which again means two years in a row with the #2 overall pick in Rule V and nothing to show for it. Good FO don’t let opportunities to improve pass them by. The Reds appear to have done that twice.

  3. DaveCT

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Many successful teams collect players such as these two then catch lightning in a bottle.

      • DaveCT

        No, i am thinking of teams like the Red Sox who collect decent AAA talent and dip into the pool when a guy who has a hot year (offset by three mediocre ones with teams like us).

  4. gaffer

    Angels To Sign Ben Revere. Thank goodness for dumb teams, at least its not the Reds (I bet Walt called from his beach chair to tell them to sign Revere).

    • McLean

      Revere will have a big season, coming back to the two fantastic seasons he had before last. Dusty was the worst coach in the world for that kid. Reds could have used him greatly, especially when Hamilton gets hurt the first week of the season and is out 4 months with a strained hammy…

      Reds are stupid…sign two losers and won’t spend $4m to improve a worthless team…

      Done with this team…

      • Gaffer

        The previous 2 years he had a .320 OBP and literally hit for no power 1500 AB without a homer. 160-170 singles a year is all he did. He was actually terrible.

    • RFM

      The team that signed Ryan LaMarre to a major league deal also signed Ben Revere? Great.

  5. RedMaster

    Doug,

    Like both of these moves a lot! I played against Shaffer in the ACC and scouted him after finishing Scout School — he’s a stud. I remember him at Clemson and he was an absolute beast — bat speed, physicality, plate presence, defensively he was the full package. On top of his physical abilities he was a grade A clubhouse/team guy, guys love playing with Richie. I thought when Tampa drafted him he’d be the next Longoria, he was arguably one of the best overall players I’ve seen come out of the ACC in quite some time. He was never a high-K guy in college but I’ve heard Tampa wanted him to be more of “high-end power guy”, Richie is extremely coachable and I’m not sure what happened in Tampa but I really think he got caught up in being a free swinger and focusing too much on hitting for power versus shortening up w/ 2K and being a complete hitter. Really hope he can return to his roots as a complete hitter, that’s really what he is. He’s still respectively young at 25 and still has ubers of ability. This is a great low-risk high-reward sign for the Reds, I wouldn’t be surprised (if the right player development gets to him) that someone can turn this kid back into legit player and possibly breakout star for the Reds. I don’t say that too often but I’m telling you this kid has ability.
    Jenkins — another low-risk, high-reward sign. I haven’t seen too much of him but I do remember him dominating in the AZL sitting 93-96 w/ a hard BB w/ late sinking mvmt. If this kid is healthy (which he should be) lock in another solid, young arm with a high upside. Love the way Cincy is stockpiling young arms.

    Love both of these signs. They won’t make headlines, but someone did their homework here. Good work!

    • MuddyCleats

      Nice post; tks for insider’s view. Any comments on Cody Reed; what does he need 2 do better 2 mature @ ML level? IMO, when he tries to throw harder, he drops his arm level & it flattens out his pitches? He has 2 stop worrying about speed gun, get on top more 2 add bite & more 2 plan movement 2 his pitches???

      • RedMaster

        Muddy,

        Appreciate the compliment, but I’m no expert (I wish). One of my buddies was a catcher in the KC Royals system and caught Reed a ton coming up — knows him well and watched him turn into an absolute monster during the summer of 2015. In talking to him he told me that Cody has unhittable stuff — FB, SLD, CHG (fringe AVG), which we all know but I think for any young guy it’s getting accustomed to the big leagues. He learned the hard way he can’t blow 94-95 by everyone at the ML-level, he needs to establish command of the FB and SLD and develop that CHG more, which will really be the x-factor for him moving forward. Personally, I thought he threw really well initially but 1-2 bad innings (1-2 bad pitches) cost him and it snowballed and eventually he lost confidence — and when you start losing confidence on the mound it goes downhill from there quick. Cody didn’t experience a ton of failure in the minors, he was going 6-7-8 innings and dominating at every level, he goes to the show and it blew up in his face. When you look at the stats and see 0-7 with a 7+ ERA it’s hard to stay confident and pitch with conviction.

        Nevertheless, I think 2016 went a long in Reed’s development. In talking with my buddy he says Reed is an absolute beast in the weight room. He eats right, doesn’t drink/smoke/party — extremely down to earth guy who puts in 110% effort (which you don’t hear a lot of in some cases) but I strongly think you’ll see the real Cody Reed in 2017. This guy has #1 caliber stuff — him and Stephenson do, it’s all about confidence and conviction for them, they aren’t short on talent by any means — with Garret, Reed, Stephenson I think you got something really exciting going on in Cincinnati and if those 3 guys put it all together this spring….look the hell out in the NL Central.

  6. MK

    Reds are listing Shaffer as a catcher on their Website roster though I don’t think he has ever played there,

    Will be a Redletter day if Clemon has an alumnae game with Shaffer, Boulware and Okey.

    Remember too that Garret Boulware’s brother Ben will be playing linebacker for Clemson versus the Buckeyes in the NCAA Football playoffs.

    • Doug Gray

      I think they are having all kinds of input errors over there at Reds.com when it comes to the roster.

      • Tyler Ricketts

        Who is incorext on the 40-man? Reds website has it listed at 41

      • Doug Gray

        Van Meter.

        He’s never been added to a 40-man roster according to his transactions, yet, he’s there for some reason.

        As I said in another reply – Reds.com is having some real braintfart issues with their roster inputs.

  7. David

    What do you think the future holds for Wyatt Strahan, as far as the Reds are concerned? He will be 24 in 2017, and is coming off Tommy John surgery (I believe).
    He only made 4 starts in Daytona, so I would imagine he is heading back there. Any chance they put him in the pen, and maybe try to fast track him? Thanks.

    • Doug Gray

      Was probably destined for the bullpen in the long run, even before the injury. Not sure exactly how they plan to use him moving forward, though I still imagine the bullpen is the eventual goal. Some guys get starters innings because they can handle the workload and it gives them more reps to work on things.

  8. CincyFan

    There is definitely hope there, but they sound a little bit like John Lamb and Kyle Parker (another 1st round Clemson guy with power that didn’t pan out) .

    • Champ Summers

      This could be a very accurate statement. Lamb is exactly who I thought about when i thought of Jenkins. At least Jenkins has maintained some of his velocity. I forgot about Parker completely. Looks like Cin may have been his final stop.

      • Doug Gray

        At the same time, at least Lamb had performed well in Triple-A. Granted, I think Jenkins has the better stuff to play in the bullpen than Lamb did/does, so that could help some.

  9. Norwood Nate

    The Shaffer pick up seems to be solid. Upon looking a little deeper this appears to be the exact kind of pick up needed as he can back up 3B (really had no good options on the current roster) and the other corners. He’ll offer power off the bench if he makes the club. I also like the fact he has an option, meaning the Reds can take a little more time in evaluating. If he can bring the K% down while keeping the power above average and the nice BB% the Reds may have something. That’s a tall task, and having K% numbers of 36.4% and 33.3% in the big leagues won’t cut it. If he can bring that down closer to 25% I think he can make positive contributions.

    The Jenkins pick carries upside due to the arm, but I hate bringing in these guys that walk more than they strike out. It rarely works out that the BB rate gets under control if it hasn’t by this point. More often it’s a waste of time and roster spot. At least he has an option left as well.

    • RedMaster

      Normally I’d 100% agree with you about bringing the BB% rate down. I truly think Shaffer got off track in TB with their hitting philosophy and trying to do too much at the plate. I’ve heard from a number of different people they preach “swing big, swing hard, don’t worry about the K’s”.

      Shaffer was not a high K guy in college, and yes it’s college but the ACC/SEC competition he was dominating was no joke, go back and watch his clips vs Marcus Stroman (at Duke) watch him stay inside the ball and go gap-to-gap, he shortens up w/ 2K and uses the whole field — he swing is considerably shorter in college and by the end of his senior year he was walking more than striking out. But when your a 1st Round pick and 6″3 corner INF, it’s not surprising when the organization tells you your there to hit the ball outta the ballpark.

      I’m not saying he’s going to be the next Todd Frazier or even Adam Duvall — but keep an eye on this kid. Good clubhouse guys, he’s crazy athletic — and he’ll impress the Reds in camp with his bat speed and hitting ability — you watch!

  10. McLean

    Gaffer: Just to clean up some of your inaccurate comments above. Here are the true stats on Ben Revere: 2016, admittedly, was a bad year; much of which I would credit to his manager, who has always been a big swing type of coach…In ’16, Revere had 350 at-bats with 44 runs, 76 hits and two home runs and 24 RBI. He hit .217 with a OBP of .260. But before that, which is what I was pointing out, he was much, much better. In fact, he would be the best leadoff hitter the Reds would have had in YEARS! In 2015, Revere had 592 at-bats with 84 runs, 181 hits, two home runs and 45 RBI. He hit .306 with a OBP of .342. In 2014, Revere had 601 at-bats with 71 runs, 184 hit, two home runs and 28 RBI. He hit .306 with a OBP of .325. Compare that to Hamilton, and it isn’t even close. In fact, Revere could add the defense, base stealing and other intangibles — like staying healthier…If you want to write posts, criticizing others, you should go to the stat book and just be a little accurate. May help your case…If you want me to post Hamilton’s numbers for the same years, I could, but I think you know the results…Merry Christmas, Gaffer…May the New Year bring you some accuracy.

    • Greenfield Red

      Best lead off hitter in years? I think Sin Soo Choo had a pretty good year not too long ago. Merry Christmas.

      • McLean

        GR: Choo played for the Reds in 2013…Three full seasons since then. Three years…Qualifies as “years” to me…But it if doesn’t to you, that’s a good point. However, the Reds have struggled to find people to hit at the top of the order, and I think most can agree with that sentiment. Revere would have been a cost-effective insurance policy, if nothing else and, in my opinion, would have won the CF spot. For years to come. But, then again, it is just an opinion. Based on some cost factors and pretty good stats…Signing off. Other things to do. Merry Christmas…

    • DHud

      Hamilton had an OBP of .321 this past season, compared to Revere’s .342 and .325 which you are touting as astronomically better. Over a 600 AB season, the difference in a .342 and .321 OBP is 13 extra times on base. That’s one extra time on base every 12.5 games. If you think that would be such an amazing improvemnt over Hamilton, so be it. But that’s also completely ignoring that Hamilton is a FAR superior defender and baserunner, and assuming (likely irrationally) that Revere’s downward trend from last season and Hamilton’s upward trend are not indicative of either player’s current skills progression