Reds Sign Luke Weaver – MLB Trade Rumors

The Reds introduced they’ve signed a proper-hander Luke Weaver to a one-yr contract. infielder Matt Reynolds was designated for task in a corresponding 40-man roster transfer. The Boras Corporation consumer will obtain a $2MM base wage, tweets Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

Weaver joins the fifth group of his skilled profession. A primary-spherical collection of the Cardinals in 2014, he broke into the majors with St. Louis two years later. After struggling by way of 9 outings as a rookie, the previous prime prospect put up a 3.88 ERA by way of 60 1/3 innings in 2017. Weaver seemed as if he may carve out an extended-time period rotation function for the Redbirds, however he stumbled to a 4.95 ERA throughout a profession-excessive 136 1/3 frames the following season.

The following offseason, St. Louis packaged Weaver alongside Carson Kelly and Andrew Young for the Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt. The transfer and subsequent 5-yr extension turned out brilliantly for St. Louis however did not repay for the Snakes. That’s largely as a result of Weaver by no means cemented himself within the Arizona rotation.

Things began off encouragingly sufficient, as Weaver pitched to a 2.94 ERA in 12 begins in 2019. He posted sturdy peripherals however missed an prolonged chunk of time with forearm tightness. Arm accidents would sadly turn into a recurring theme for the Florida State product, who has misplaced notable parts of three of the final 4 seasons. The solely current totally wholesome marketing campaign got here in 2020 with the shortened schedule. He took a full slate of 12 turns by way of the rotation that yr however was bombed for a 6.58 ERA by way of 52 innings. He was restricted to 13 begins in 2021 by a strained shoulder and misplaced a few months early final season with irritation in his throwing elbow.

Over three-plus seasons within the desert, Weaver pitched to a 4.72 ERA in simply fewer than 200 innings. At final summer time’s commerce deadline, the Snakes flipped him to the Royals for infielder Emmanuel Rivera. Kansas City’s purchase-low try did not go as hoped. Working solely in aid, Weaver allowed 15 runs in 19 2/3 innings. The Royals took him off the roster after the season. He briefly landed with the Mariners through waivers however Seattle non-tendered him inside a few weeks. That despatched him to free company for the primary time, the place he’ll attempt to proper the ship in Cincinnati.

Over elements of seven MLB seasons, Weaver owns a 4.79 ERA in 450 2/3 innings. He’s struck out a stable 23.5% of opposing hitters in opposition to a manageable 7.5% stroll share. That strikeout/stroll profile has led to extra favorable views from ERA estimators like FIP (3.96) and SIERA (4.08) than his backside line ERA may counsel. An elevated .328 batting common on balls in play has plagued Weaver, though it might be overly simplistic to attribute that fully to poor luck. The 6’2″ hurler has given up loads of arduous contact all through his profession. Opponents have hit greater than 40% of their batted balls arduous (with an exit velocity of 95 MPH or better) in every of the final 4 seasons.

Primarily a fastball-changeup pitcher, Weaver has unsuccessfully tinkered with numerous breaking pitches through the years. He’s blended in every of a slider, cutter and curveball all through his MLB tenure however by no means appeared fully snug with any of these choices. Working nearly solely out of the bullpen final season, he turned to his fastball or changeup roughly 90% of the time whereas sometimes deploying a slider as a 3rd pitch in opposition to proper-handed batters.

Weaver began simply certainly one of his 26 outings final season. He’d began 80 of 89 large league appearances earlier than final yr, although, and it appears the Reds will give him one other shot at a rotation function. Cincinnati began Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft — every of whom confirmed upside to various levels as rookies final season — penciled into three rotation spots. The last two are firmly up for grabs, with gamers like Luis Cessa, Justin Dunn and Connor Overton preventing for rotation jobs as nicely. Weaver figures to have the within observe at one of many out there spots, with Cessa having primarily been a reliever all through his profession and Dunn and Overton nonetheless having minor league choices remaining.

The 29-yr-previous Weaver has over 5 years of main league service time. He cannot be optioned with out his consent, so he is a digital lock to open the season on the MLB roster in some capability. He’ll return to the free agent market once more at yr’s finish, and the one-yr time period makes him an apparent midseason commerce candidate if issues click on early in his Cincinnati tenure. The Reds are unlikely to hold across the playoff image in 2023, making it probably they’d discipline provides on quick-time period veterans like Weaver and fellow free agent signee Wil Myers if these gamers carry out nicely sufficient to attract curiosity from contenders.

Tacking on Weaver’s modest wage brings Cincinnati’s projected payroll as much as round $81MM, as calculated by Roster Resource. That’s nicely beneath final yr’s $114MM approximate Opening Day determine. General supervisor Nick Krall has spoken on a number of events in regards to the payroll constraints dealing with the entrance workplace. It’s doable Cincinnati rolls the cube on one other low-price upside play or two with Spring Training a month away, however they’re unlikely to make any significantly noteworthy free agent additions. The bullpen and middle discipline stand out as areas the place Cincinnati may proceed trying to find smaller upgrades.

Reynolds, displaced by Weaver’s addition, landed in Cincinnati final April off waivers from the Mets. The out-of-choices infielder held his roster spot all season, showing in 92 video games with Cincinnati. He tallied a brand new profession excessive with 272 plate appearances, hitting .246/.320/.332 with a trio of house runs. Reynolds walked in almost 10% of his plate appearances however went down on strikes roughly 29% of the time. While he made a good quantity of arduous contact, a lofty 50.9% grounder charge muted his general energy influence.

The Reds will now have per week to commerce the 32-yr-previous infielder or place him on waivers. Reynolds has cleared outright waivers twice beforehand in his profession. That’d give him the proper to refuse an outright task and check minor league free company if he goes unclaimed once more.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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