The Cincinnati Reds have selected right handed pitcher Brad Keller in the Rule 5 Draft. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer believes that the Reds will trade him before the day is over.

Zach was right. The Reds traded Brad Keller to the Kansas City Royals for future considerations (cash or a player to be named later). I wouldn’t expect the return to be much, and if I had to put money on the return, I’d be it were actual money instead of a player. We will eventually see how that comes out, though.

Minor League Rule 5 Draft

In the minor league phase the Reds lost a player with the first pick in the Triple-A version. Eduardo Rivera was taken before ever throwing a pitch in the organization. He was picked up in free agency this offseason from the New York Yankees. Rivera was dominant in 2017, but he was also a 24-year-old pitching in the New York-Penn League. By comparison, that’s basically the equivalent to Billings. He has never pitched in full season baseball.

The Reds also picked up a player in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft. They took Toronto Blue Jays prospect Mitch Nay. The 23-year-old spent his entire season in Low-A with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2017. Unlike the Major League Rule 5, players taken in the minor league version can be placed with any level within the organization. There are no roster rules as far as where a player must remain, or a level in which they must be at or higher.

It’s been an interesting ride for Mitch Nay. He was taken in the 1st round of the 2012 draft and moved up from as high as Advanced-A. But he would miss nearly all of the 2016 season due to a staph infection and multiple surgeries that were related to it. The only action he saw was eight games with the rookie level Blue Jays to end the season. He also missed the first two months of 2017 recovering from this before joining the Lugnuts. Nay was not at 100% during the season, and it showed in the stats. He hit .222/.265/.393. This was three years after he hit .285/.342/.389 at the same level. It’s an interesting pick up of a player who has some talent if he can return to form. He’ll be 24-years-old next season, but hopefully he will be healthy and can provide some depth in the organization.

The Reds would lose another player later in the draft as right handed reliever Sandy Lugo was taken by the Minnesota Twins. He dominated for the Dayton Dragons in 2016, posting a 2.45 ERA in 55.0 innings with 13 walks and 77 strikeouts. But in 2017 he took a step backwards, posting a 5.32 ERA in Daytona where his walk rate exploded, giving out 40 free passes in 64.1 innings. He struck out 82 batters along the way and still showed good stuff, but the control was a big time issue during the season.

40 Responses

  1. Shamrock

    Stupid!!
    That’s the wrong injured Blue Jays prospect.
    (the dummies obviously got the names Mitch and Max confused)

  2. Hingle McCringleberry

    The reds are just flat out awful.You keep a catcher that you didn’t need last year, but trade away something you’ve been needing forever. Smh.

      • Doug Gray

        Yes. FOREVER.

        He was so valuable that he was available in the Rule 5 draft for $100,000.

      • Hingle McCringleberry

        Use some common sense. If you know about reds baseball, they’ve short on lefties forever. Not needing that player forever. How did you read that, and not understand what i was saying?

        Come on man. Let’s get to our point in a better way. Choose better words.

      • Krozley

        Keller is right-handed. So count me in the camp of having no clue what you are talking about.

    • Norwood Nate

      They absolutely needed Turner last year as it was a real safe bet Mesoraco wasn’t going to stay healthy and they had no catchers in the upper minors worth calling up in that situation.

      • MuddyCleats

        IDK, Reds drafted Torrens fm Yankees also who was younger by 3 yrs and was rated w/ more upside than Stuart. In limited playing time, Def. stats nearly identical. Stuarts ERA at 6.0 while Torrens was in the fours. NO Offense from either guy. I agree w/ Mr. Berry’s sentiment…Reds aren’t good enough to punt in any draft when picking that high. They are not winning w/ their own players at any level & $$$ from K.C. will barely cover DW bar tab at WM!

  3. Piggly Wiggly

    It has been a weird off-season for the Reds. I guess if they get cash, they can treat it as found money. It could pay the salary of a couple of advanced metrics staff, or a couple of sports medicine staff or the new emerging fad of employing sports psychologists.
    They had Burch Smith right there at #5 and decided couch cushion money or a much lesser prospect was a better option. Hard to imagine what the Reds thinking was on this. Royals got Keller from the Reds and also traded for Smith who got selected at #6.
    And the Pirates trade for Burdi, selected #3, so Burdi wasn’t a target for the Reds either.
    It has been one heck of a disappointing off-season by the Reds front office. Teams doing this rope-a-dope strategy and waiting until January to do things is maybe good business, but it is bad for MLB overall. They have just about killed off the Winter Meetings as a winter showcase for the sport. This could lead to new “collusion” accusations by the MLBPA union.
    I can see MLB making January a dead signing period on major league contracts and moving the arbitration process from February to January. Just to spice up the mid-November-December period and re-jazz the Winter Meetings. Minor league contracts with invites can be signed, but ML contracts cannot be signed from Jan. 1 until sometime in February.

    • Doug Gray

      There’s nothing at all that suggest Burdi wasn’t a Reds target. Simply because they didn’t get him doesn’t mean they didn’t try.

      • Piggly Wiggly

        That is possible as Pirates traded $500k in International Bonus Pool Money instead of a player/prospect. Reds might not have had that kind of IBP money to trade. It appears as though the Phillies specifically wanted IBP money.

      • Trey

        How much do the Reds have left in International Bonus money? I don’t recall us signing that many players and at $300k max that would seem to indicate we have a lot left. I know we traded some money, but wonder what we are doing with rest if $500k was all it took to get Burdi.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t know. I recently asked and couldn’t get an answer.

    • Wes

      I’m pretty shocked the reds took this route. Yankees have possibly the deepest system ever and they had their choice of all those guys and a couple others. They also need bullpen help- kinda shocking they didn’t address it here.

      However, my complaint now is that they really need to go get yelich. The asking price has to be low seeing what they got for ozona and Stanton. Reds need to buy and not sell. More value in buying right now

      • Colorado Red

        I agree with you. They need to at least kick the tires.
        Jeter may be in over his head.

    • MK

      Nays first game last year was against the Dragons. The guy almost died from that infection according to their announcers. I got the idea he has many of same tools as Taylor Sparks with a little batter defense.

      • Shamrock

        I’ve had staph infection for like a frickin year straight back in ’06 (it kept coming back).
        It’s painful and miserable. I’ve heard of people losing limbs over it.
        Hopefully Nay can show us that he’s still a winner!!

  4. Hoyce

    I was hoping the Reds would end up w burdi.
    Hard to see all this action going on- stars being traded or dangled. And reds take the “wait and see” approach. Uuuuugggghhhg

    • greg

      It would have been harder if the Giants wanted more in return for their pick than Burdi would actually be worth.

  5. Scott C

    I’m hearing a lot of angst over not getting some players that other teams did not think worth keeping on a 40 man roster. Rule 5 draft picks occasionally work out, I know, but the key word is occassionally.

    • Datdudejs

      I think a lot of the angst is that the Reds have a trend over several years where they don’t utilize every avenue they can to be successful. If they don’t feel they can be players on the free agent market, that’s fine, but a lot of people get frustrated when they don’t utilize other avenues of adding talent such as the rule 5 draft. There were plenty of very good arms that could have helped a glaring weakness (bullpen).

      If you’re not going to spend money on free agents, then fans such as myself, would like to see them go all out in other areas.

      Signing a player like Roberts is a good example(international) and actually drafting a pitcher (rule 5) they could use instead of when they are flipping for money is another. Taking advantage of Miami’s free for all situation is clearly another. Grabbing one of Ozuna, Yelich, or even Dee Gordon could have created a lot of interesting situations the Reds could have taken advantage of and they were almost giving them away.

      I am giving Dick the benefit of the doubt however, because so far he has been better then his predecessor, and it’s still early in the offseason but I would like to see them go after some real talent at some point.

      • RobL

        While it is always nice to add talent, there is always a price to pay.

        You mention signing Roberts. That would have cost the Reds in the neighborhood of 48 million dollars. Even Doug said that was too much to give up.

        Grabbing Ozuna, Yelich, or Gordon. Yelich is not on the block, so they would have to be blown away. Ozuna cost the Cardinals their 4th and 5th ranked prospects on Fangraphs. And while all prospects aren’t equal in value, the Reds 4th and 5th ranked players by Doug are Trammell and Winker. I would die if they gave that up for two years of Ozuna at most. And Dee Gordon is a second baseman where we have multiple options. Why give up people for Gordon to try centerfield when you know Hamilton can play it, and is probably cheaper?

        I too would have liked to add a Rule 5 pitcher, but the Reds value flexibility right now. Having on bullpen spot locked down all year no matter the performance, may not have been something they wanted to do at this time. And remember, they can always now add Herget and Weiss to the 40 man and have options available. People you may have loved if they were taken in the rule 5.

        I am like you, in that I want to see what Dick has done by Opening Day. Until then, I will reserve judgement.

      • MK

        Several years? They utilized the Rule 5 draft last year with three quality picks(including Adames).
        Turner gets a lot of abuse but as a rookie he did about as well as could be expected playing two or three times a month.

      • Datdudejs

        48 million for 6+ years of control on a guy who is legitimately a 5 tool player with excellent strike zone discipline is well worth it in my option

      • HavaKlu

        I think you have overlooked the Reds signing Chapman, Iglesias, Gutierrez and Rodriguez in saying they don’t utilize other avenues of adding talent.

  6. Michael B. Green

    Full support of GM Williams. CIN should add a quality reliever and will clear a spot for Winker. Might need some SS depth (AAAA type) too. Otherwise, CIN does not HAVE to do anything. All players are controllable and cheap. Returning pitchers will help like a great deal.

  7. Kap

    There are still a few decent option available on the free agent market in terms of relievers.

    Matt Albers, Jason Motte, or Seung-hwan Oh can be guys to try on a two or three years deal while Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Rondon, or Huston Street are rebound kind of one year deals can the Reds can ship out at the trade deadline.

    • Daytonian

      No Hector Rendon! He’s no what he once was. He’s had it, as the Cubs last year realized. We have better talent waiting in the pen.

      • Hingle McCringleberry

        Yet, Hector pitched better than most reds relievers.

  8. Shamrock

    I mean heck, at the very least we should’ve signed our old backup SS away from Seattle…..

  9. Shamrock

    I wonder if Burdi and Tocci hadn’t gone #3 & #4, if the Reds may have handled this draft differently……
    Doug, you seem to have the inside scoop…were these the two players we were targeting??

  10. The Duke

    Once Burdi was gone, I wasn’t expecting much. I don’t care much about trading Keller away as I doubt he would have made our bullpen. Underwhelming, but you shouldn’t expect much from the Rule 5 draft.

    I expect we’ll sign a reliever sometime in mid to late January when a guy who expected more settles for a 1 year deal. Past that, I imagine we’ll hold onto a 40 man spot to use to claim someone that pops up on waivers. Not expecting much from the trade market, except maybe offloading one of Hamilton or Duvall.

    • FancyPants

      Sounds about right; same ole Dreds w/ same ole excuses! Exactly why I don’t spend $$$ on their products!

  11. bouwills

    Gee, Williams could have just stayed home in Cincy & helped sort the veggies for Bob C.

    • Shamrock

      Bugga Bugga Boo

      (all the other posts have exactly 40 comments, so I had to boost this one up)