Cincinnati Reds Announce Next Wave of September Call-Ups


With the minor league regular season coming to a close, the Cincinnati Reds have announced a new wave of September call-ups as utility-man Kristopher Negron will be joined by three pitchers in Brandon Finnegan, Tony Cingrani and Josh Smith.

There is one notable omission from this list and that is top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson. The decision to leave Stephenson off the active roster is a curious one for a couple of reasons. The first is that manager Bryan Price has said that the team wants to get him more innings and since Triple-A Louisville’s season is over, that would almost certainly mean that Stephenson would head to Cincinnati. However, Stephenson will instead be heading to the Arizona Instructional League to keep pitching, Price told reporters after Monday’s game.

The second reason that Stephenson’s exclusion is odd is that the Reds need to have him on the 40-man roster by the time the offseason rolls around so as not to lose him in the Rule 5 Draft. Now, the club will presumably wait until the end of the season to make the move.

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Finnegan joins the Reds for the first time after coming over as the centerpiece in the trade with the Kansas City Royals for Johnny Cueto. The southpaw has been used as a starter since the deal, with mixed results. In eight starts, Finnegan is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA and 1.58 WHIP, while striking out 8.9 and walking 5.0 per nine innings. He has thrown 80 or more pitches in his last three starts, but has still yet to throw more than five innings.

Despite stretching Finnegan out and having discussions of going to a six-man rotation at some point, Price has revealed that the Reds are going to use him out of the bullpen.

Finnegan will be joined in the bullpen by Cingrani, who has only been used in relief since leaving his Aug. 23 start with an undisclosed injury. In nine appearances (six starts) with Louisville, Cingrani is 0-1 with a 1.82 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 24.2 innings. As usual, his strikeout numbers are high (11.7 K/9), but his control problems don’t seem to have gotten any better (4.0 BB/9).

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Smith may join Cingrani and Finnegan in the bullpen initially, but could be an option in the starting rotation when rookies Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias reach their innings limit. The right-hander struggled mightily in Cincinnati earlier in the year, but has been solid in the minors, putting up an 8-9 record to go along with a 3.45 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

The Reds will get a little more flexibility off the bench with Negron, but he may not be used as much more than a defensive replacement given his immense struggles at the plate this season. He hit .219/.284/.313 with Triple-A Louisville after being demoted from Cincinnati, where he hit only .141/.240/.163 in 106 plate appearances to begin the season.

The call-ups won’t be the only additions to the Reds’ roster on Tuesday, as the club is also expected to get center fielder Billy Hamilton back from his stay on the disabled list. Outfielder Brennan Boesch, who has been rehabbing in Louisville, could also rejoin the active roster now that the minor league season has concluded.

Next: Reds send seven prospects to Arizona Fall League