The Cincinnati Reds announced the signing of 21 minor league free agents on Thursday afternoon. Some of the players we have already heard about that were signed or re-signed. There are plenty of ones that we didn’t know about.

Let’s start with the players that we already knew about on the list. Pitchers Anthony Bass, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Alex Powers. We also knew about position players Christian Colon, Mason Williams, and Kyle Wren. That still leaves us with a list of 16 players that have been signed that we hadn’t previously known about.

The newly signed Cincinnati Reds pitchers

We are going to separate this into two categories: The guys that they re-signed, and the guys from other organizations. Starting with the players that they have re-signed are Jose Adames, Juan Martinez, Jon Moscot, Victor Payano, and Rob Wooten.

Jose Adames continues to be intriguing to me, even though he hasn’t pitched in games in two seasons. He missed all of the 2017 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but returned for instructional league that year throwing 99 MPH. Unfortunately he then missed all of 2018, too. Big arm, but he’s not a spring chicken anymore, and health is clearly a concern.

Jon Moscot has big league experience, but has had multiple arm injuries and surgeries since then, too. He hasn’t pitched in games since 2016 when he pitched ten games in the minors and five more in Cincinnati. The same can be said for Rob Wooten, who missed most of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He rehabbed for a month with the Arizona League Reds before making a single appearance for Triple-A Louisville in September. He last pitched in the Majors in 2015 when he was with the Brewers.

Victor Payano and Juan Martinez were both relievers in the organization last year. Martinez, a lefty reliever, split most of his season between Daytona and Pensacola. He made two appearances in Louisville, too. Payano saw all of his action in Double-A Pensacola during the 2018 season.

Now let’s look at the pitchers the Reds signed that are new to the organization. Clayton Blackburn, Johendi Jiminian, and Nick Lee. None of these three have past Major League experience.

Clayton Blackburn missed all of the 2018 season after having Tommy John surgery in April. That makes it very unlikely that he will be ready to pitch at the start of the season. Mid-season seems like a far more likely expectation. He has mostly spent his career as a starter in the minors, making 133 starts and just 12 relief appearances throughout his career. Since 2015 he’s pitched exclusively at the Triple-A level. He’s been a high groundball rate pitcher for his minor league career.

Johendi Jiminian, a now 26-year-old right handed pitcher, has spent most of his career starting, but has some relief experience, too. Last year in the Mariners organization he made 16 starts in Double-A Arkansas. While there he posted a 3.49 ERA over 69.2 innings with 31 walks and 52 strikeouts. He missed most of the second half of the season, making his final start of the year on July 17th. He left the game in the second inning after injuring his ankle.

Nick Lee is a soon to be 28-year-old reliever (he turns 28 this weekend). In 2018 he pitched in independent league baseball after spending the 2011-2017 seasons in the Washington Nationals farm system. He topped out in Double-A in 2016. During the 2017 season he only pitched in three games, all on rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Nationals. In spring training of 2017 he suffered a stress fracture in his pitching elbow that required surgery to repair.

The newly signed Cincinnati Reds position players

Much like above, we are going to break this down into two sections: The guys who were re-signed, and the newly signed players that we didn’t already know about. First, those who re-signed. Jose Duarte, Alberti Chavez, Hernan Iribarren, Mitch Nay, Sebastian Elizalde, and Courtney Hawkins are all back with the Reds.

The biggest surprise on that list is Hernan Iribarren. The 34-year-old is coming back for another season. In 2018 he played in 82 games for Triple-A Louisville. He’s played in parts of three seasons – 2008, 2009, 2016 – in the Major Leagues.

Mitch Nay is coming back after hitting .267/.352/.405 between Advanced-A and Double-A last year. Courtney Hawkins (71 plate appearances), Jose Duarte (did not play in 2018, 44 plate appearances in 2017) and Alberti Chavez (184 plate appearances) all will be out in Goodyear after limited action in the organization last year. Sebastian Elizalde began the year with Louisville, but was loaned back to a team in Mexico where he finished out his season. He became a free agent after the season was over. He’ll be back with the organization this upcoming season.

The only new signee that we weren’t already aware of is infielder Yonathan Mendoza. He’s a soon to be 25-year-old shortstop (February birthday) who has been in the Cleveland and Seattle organizations. Last year he spent his season in Double-A Arkansas where he played in 97 games. He’s a high-contact rate hitter, but one that has absolutely no power. In his career he has hit eight home runs in 543 games and has a career slugging percentage of .321. Last season with Arkansas he slugged .291 despite a .261 batting average.

2 Responses

  1. Bryant Galbaugh

    Any thoughts on whether the Reds should pursue Charlie Tilso, who was just DFA’d by White Sox? Former solid CF prospect

    • Bill

      He certainly looked good in 2016, but has really struggled due to injuries since then. I don’t think I would give him a 40-man roster spot, but CF is a position of need in the majors. Perhaps if the scouts like him, he would be a good guy to bring in on a minor league FA contract (this will be season 9 for him) and take a good look at in spring training. I worry less about players being injury prone, and more about how injuries have degraded their skills.