The Cincinnati Reds picked up outfielder Nick Martini off of waivers from the San Diego Padres, and acquired reliever Justin Shafer for cash considerations from Toronto this afternoon. I wrote about both of those acquisitions over at Redleg Nation in detail if you’re interested. To make room on the 40-man roster for both players, the Reds designated reliever Jimmy Herget and outfielder Brian O’Grady for assignment.
Essentially the Reds are trading out a reliever for a reliever, and an outfielder for an outfielder. But only sort of. Any team could put in a claim for either Herget or O’Grady, or a team could jump to the front of the line and decide to trade for either of them before if they are especially interested. But there’s a chance that neither a trade, or a waiver claim happens. If so, both players would be outrighted to the minors and remain in the organization.
Jimmy Herget was the Reds 6th round pick out of South Florida back in 2015. After dominating in the minor leagues, posting a career 2.80 ERA in parts of five seasons with 314 strikeouts in 266.1 innings, he reached the Major Leagues in 2019 with Cincinnati. He only pitched in five games and allowed three earned runs in 6.1 innings (4.26 ERA). He walked three batters and didn’t strike out anyone. In Triple-A, though, he posted a 2.91 ERA in 58.2 innings while striking out 68 batters in 2019. His walk rate, though, was an all-time worst for him as he handed out 36 free passes.
Brian O’Grady had a big season in Triple-A for a second straight season. And in August that led to a call up to the big leagues with the Reds. He hit .190/.292/.429 with two doubles, a triple, and two home runs in 48 plate appearances with Cincinnati. With Louisville on the season he hit .280/.359/.550 with 30 doubles, a triple, 28 home runs, and he stole 20 bases in 24 attempts over his 112 games played for the Bats. That’s on top of hit .306/.365/.563 line he had in 42 games with Louisville in 2018. He’s currently in the Dominican Republic playing with Aguilas Cibaenas where he’s got a .750 OPS through 13 games played.
With the incoming players, both offer a little bit of intrigue. Nick Martini has interesting splits as a left-handed hitter. That could make him a useful platoon player who gets time against right-handed pitching. Justin Shafer had better numbers than Herget did in 2019. And from a raw stuff standpoint, he might be better there, too. As strange as it sounds to say out loud, I’ll just trust the Reds on pitching acquisitions.