The Cincinnati Reds roster has taken a different look this afternoon. With the offseason officially upon us, teams need to get their 40-man roster back to an actual 40-man roster. The disabled list no longer exists until 2019. There were a lot of moves that took place on Friday afternoon. First, they picked up right handed pitcher Matt Bowman from the St. Louis Cardinals off of waivers. They would also lose two players on waiver claims. Reliever Austin Brice was claimed by the Angels and infielder Brandon Dixon was claimed by the Detroit Tigers.

The Reds also trimmed down the roster by outrighting infielder Dilson Herrera and outfielder Mason Williams to Triple-A Louisville. Both players have the right to decline and elect free agency if they so choose (and why wouldn’t they?). Those moves cleared spots for Alex Blandino, Keury Mella, and Jesse Winker. All three of them were on the 60-day disabled list and not taking up spots on the 40-man roster.

The acquisition of Matt Bowman is an interesting one. In 2016 and 2017 he posted a 3.70 ERA in 126.1 innings out of the St. Louis bullpen. He walked 38 batters, had 98 strikeouts, and he allowed just 8 home runs. That was good for an ERA+ of 112. Last season, though, he really struggled. He only threw 23.0 innings as he battled several health issues during the year and had multiple trips to the disabled list. His ERA jumped up to 6.26, while his walk rate jumped up significantly with 11 walks during the year. Small sample size, for sure, but the rate was a big jump from where he had been previously. His strikeout rate, too, jumped up, though.

This could be a good pick up if the Reds can get the Matt Bowman that pitched in the Majors from 2016-2017. They are probably hoping that his health issues are at least mostly the reason that he struggled in 2018 when his numbers took a dive. He would have surgery late in the year to try and correct Raynaud’s Syndrome. You can read more about it at the link, but essentially it can cause numbness in your fingers.

The 2018 season was different for Bowman on many levels. His home run rate, and home run per fly ball rate both jumped up. As noted, the walk and strikeout rates were both significantly higher, too. So was his batting average on balls in play, which had been .273 in his career prior to the season. It jumped up 100 points in 2018. His groundball rate was also down significantly. In 2016 it was 62%, and in 2017 it was 55%. Both of those rates were well above-average. In 2018 it dropped to 49%.

28 Responses

  1. redlegs4ever

    I’m counting on the Reds official website to be right, which is a gamble in itself, but according to it the Reds were at 38 on the 40 man before these moves and would now still stand at 38. With that in mind why would they outright players if they didn’t have too? And the question I’ve been asking for 2 years, who does Aristides Aquino have compromising pictures of?? And the ultimate question, why am I still assuming the Reds Front Office has a plan and/or knows what it’s doing???

    • Norwood Nate

      That’s what I counted as well. Kind of surprised they held onto Trahan so far, as I thought he’d be one of the first ones to go. Maybe they regret what happened when they DFA’d Vincej and didn’t want to repeat history.

      One of those spots will go to Herget. They’ll probably need a couple spots for FA’s as well down the line.

    • MK

      They have to open up some spots on the 40 man at some point for the guys who need to be added this Winter and now is as good a time as any. Will these guys be any different when they need to go in a couple of weeks. Who knows what the strategy is with Aquino. To me he is still a big time prospect and does seem like a very tradeable commodity they might not want to give away at this point.

  2. Tom

    Kind of a lot of carnage there. I liked Dixon and Herrera a lot. All the players had at one time or another a decent amount of support by Reds fans. Looks like they are hording pitching.

  3. Norwood Nate

    It’s a shame they couldn’t figure out a way to get Herrera some regular AB’s in the months he was on the club. Especially by September in another meaningless crawl to the finish line.

  4. Gaffer

    Basically we are losing most of the players acquired in the latest rebuilding trades. Got to love that we got zero for Aroldis, Bruce, and others.

    • Colt Holt

      We did get eugenio Suarez for the big pasta. Imagine how the tigers fans are feeling on that one! Can’t win them all. This rebuild has brought in Suarez and Castillo by trade. It also brought in Schebler and Peraza. Looking at specific transactions with a critical eye will just lead to disappointment. Everyone botches something eventually.

  5. RedsFaninPitt

    Unless there is ongoing injury issues with Dilson Herrera that we aren’t aware of, I think it’s a mistake to let him walk. If given regular AB’s, I think he will be a solid .250-.270 hitter with 20+ HR’s and decent OBP. I am not saying next year, but by the time he gets to be 26-28. I would rather have Herrera than Blandino even though Blandino probably has slightly more defensive flexibility.

    • Keith

      Agree. I feel like Blandino is replaceable with any number of other good glove guys who can’t really hit.

  6. Kong

    Broken down pitcher with an ERA over 6 seems about right for a new Reds starter. Pretty much the MO for this group of merry morons that run the team.

  7. Cguy

    Best of wishes to both Austin Brice & Brandon Dixon. I can’t help but feel that Dilson Hererra has slipped through the Reds fingers. Hopefully, Blandino proves to be the better ballplayer.

  8. GM/Manager Nep O'Tism

    Why claim a relief pitcher if it means having to get rid of career 0.00 ERA relief pitcher Brandon Dixon? Lol

    – – – – –
    Jokes aside, how brutal is that Bruce trade when they turned down Brandom Nimmo for Dilson Herrera? Nimmo is 25, hit .263/.404/.483 in 2018, and gathered 4.4 WAR while playing all 3 OF spots.

    Replace Hamilton’s .236/.299/.327 and 0.3 WAR with Nimmo’s .263/.404/.483 and 4.4 WAR in CF and I would feel a lot better about the 2019 OF. Winker/Nimmo/Schebler is an OF you can win with even if it’s not the Red Sox’s OF.

    • RedsFaninPitt

      Nimmo’s not a real CF. Not quite apples to apples comparison.

      • Bob Anderson

        Bruce trade was a toss a dart. He washed up. Only trade that sucked was Cueto, even though he was a rental.

      • GM/Manager Nep O'Tism

        Sure he was below average in CF according to DRS last year, but I have to think that playing in a smaller ballpark like GABP would help a little.

        I would also gladly take a slightly below average defender in CF if it meant having a 149 wRC+ there.

        Choo was graded as a much worse CF defensively in 2013, and had a 150 wRC+, and that worked out fine for the Reds.

      • GM/Manager Nep O'Tism


        If you think only Cueto, then you’re forgetting the Chapman trade… Tony Renda, Rookie Davis, Caleb Cotham, and Eric Jagielo.

        Only Rookie Davis was with the Reds last year (7.14 ERA in the minors in 2018), and they’ve all provided a combined -2.0 bWAR in the majors for the Reds.

        Then the Yankees turned around and traded him again that year for Gleyber Torres (21-year-old rookie All Star), Adam Warren (cheap 2-year reliever who they later traded before FA for inter $), Billy McKinney (who they later traded with someone else for JA Happ), and Rashad Crawford (seems to be a minor leaguer).

        On that trade…
        Reds: Checkers
        Yankees: Chess.

  9. Hoyce

    Clev is listening to trade for their top pitchers. Wonder what it would actually take? They are looking to reduce payroll. Would Suarez/kluber swap be possible?

    • Colorado Red

      That just might work.
      But I think we would have to sweeten the pot just a little.
      Does Cle need a 3rd baseman?
      (I do not know, that is why I am asking)

      • Hoyce

        Yep, they would move Ramirez to 2B and trade kipnis also. Which they are reportly shopping him already. Suarez contract value is exactly imo what clev (and every other team) would be looking for

      • MK

        Think you would have to take Kipnis in that deal. Not sure the Reds want the Kluber contract needs. If not Cleveland would control Suarez more than Reds Kluber.

  10. MikeinSoCal

    For some reason Herrera only got token PH appearances. I don’t know if there was a vote of no confidence for his defense or what. There were times when Gennett was worn out but Herrera never got the opportunity to give him a breather. It must be something to do with his defensive ability otherwise it made no sense. Maybe he is an AL DH. His bat seemed good to me.

  11. Moses

    There will be several more on the current 40 who lose their spots in the upcoming weeks. I count 4-6 who are fringey at best, and between Rule 5, free agency, and trades, the Reds will likely need all of those spots. Changes are a coming!

    • Norwood Nate

      I agree. The roster is going to look a lot different by ST. Quite a few fringy players still holding onto spots.

      If it were up to me, Bailey would be the first to be gone, I think it would serve the Reds best to cut bait and move on. They wouldn’t even start him in September when they needed someone to cover innings, and that should tell us all we need to know. It’s past time. But I think he’ll go into ST with another shot.

      Beyond that, Peralta, Finnegan, Trahan, and Aquino are bottom 4 guys on the roster, IMO. Probably guys like Lopez, Stephens, Reyes, and Rainey shouldn’t get too comfortable either. Stephenson and Wisler are out of options I believe and will either need to make the team or DFA’d once the season starts.

      Lots of changes coming. It should get interesting.

  12. Michael B. Green

    Trahan is the likely MI UT candidate as I bet Blandino opens the year on the DL60 to save a roster spot. Trahan is a very good fielding SS.

  13. Michael B. Green

    With the Mason Williams move, the 2019 OF is Schebler, Hamilton and Winker with Ervin as the 4th OF. It is possible that Ervin takes CF but his versatility is key. He’ll probably spell Winker against tough lefties.

    What is wide open is the 5th OF. That could point to Aquino or Siri. Either could platoon in RF – although if Siri is in the game he should and would shift to CF.

    The alternative is to trade for someone like Kepler of MIN as he can also likely play all 3 OF spots.

    I think the key is to avoid blocking Trammell. He’ll make his debut in September unless he forces their hands.

    Friedl will likely get a Sep look to see if he can play too. Both Trammell and Friedl should see some Spring Training action to measure their skills at that level.

    Unless they do something funky like sign Adam Jones to serve as a clubhouse guy that brings leadership – I don’t see CIN improving their OF via free agency.

    If we hold onto Billy, I hope he works harder than he ever has in the off-season to lay off pitches above his waist and to work at slapping the ball on the ground to the SS area.

    They could also use Billy in unique ways to the evolving game too. Pinch-run in key instances to increase the probability of a run and then using him in CF after that?