The cleaning up of the Cincinnati Reds The roster at the start of the off-season cut down its 40-man roster thoroughly, and there was always a miracle how they’d use those roster slots towards the end of the season.
As it turns out, they are using that flexibility to bring in fringe roster players from other clubs, clubs that are diving into the free agent market despite 40-man allotments. We saw this on Friday when the Red RHP Hector Perez from the Toronto Blue Jays, a player in danger of losing his squad spot to pave the way for new signatory George Springer, and on Saturday the Reds LHP picked up Cionel Perez from the Houston Astros for similar reasons.
The Reds announced the move themselves on Twitter.
Welcome to Reds Country, LHP Cionel Pérez!
– Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 23, 2021
Perez was on the Houston bubble after seeing Michael Brantley again.
In this perez, the Reds get a talented left-handed with the ability to seriously miss bats, as evidenced by his 9.3 K / 9 career in 222 MiLB innings and 9.1 K / 9 in his limited time in the big league. With a varied role among the minors since his departure from Cuba (40 or 58 career games came as a starter), he brings a fastball from the mid-90s and an additional slider to the table, although his mix is changed occasionally.
Of course, despite this talent, he sometimes had trouble finding the plate and that brought him close to Houston’s edge. While his career is far from a full red flag at 3.3 BB / 9 in minors, it has soared to 5.1 in his 26.2 major league frames, including 6 in his 6.1 IP with the Astros im Year 2020. That fits in with many of Cincinnati’s previous acquisitions this winter, with Hector Perez, Edgar Diaz and Jeff Hoffman all assembling similar shapes.
However, with this mistake comes the ubiquitous appeal of the “upward trend”. Perez is only 24 years old, still has a minor league option and – stop it if you’ve heard this before – is as cheap as possible. If desired, he’ll just make a league minimum in 2021 with team control until 2025. He’s another lottery ticket arm for Kyle Boddy, the driveline team, and Derek Johnson’s pitching coach, this time a left-wing assuring a bullpen that Amir Garrett may have put in the role of the closer.
It’s an inexpensive, low-risk move with upside potential, something that is hard to blame on any team for having done it at any point in time. The cost of taking over Perez mattered to Luke Berryhill, who was selected back in 2019 by the University of South Carolina Reds in the 13th round and has so far not played higher than rookie ball.
That’s a strategy that’s good enough on the sidelines of any roster, and one the Reds are allowed to continue to pursue, but when the entire offseason strategy is just a lot of those steps in the hopes that one or two will fail is a clear problem amidst. The Reds still have room to make other eye-catching, proven additions – their 40-man roster currently consists of only 37 players, as the Reds discovered – but the clock is now ticking both at the start of the season and in the flexibility of the Der Winter roster started with primarily.