Cincinnati Reds Send 7 to Minor Leagues

The Cincinnati Reds made their first series of offseason moves on Friday when they trimmed down their 40-man roster. Due to players being on the 60-day disabled list during the season, the Reds had 47 on their roster, meaning seven had to be outrighted to the minor leagues.

Those players were outfielders Jason Bourgeois and Brennan Boesch, utility man Kristopher Negron, left-handed pitcher David Holmberg and right-handed pitchers Josh Smith, Nathan Adcock and Collin Balester.

Bourgeois appeared in 68 games with the Reds this season and served as the team’s starting center fielder when Billy Hamilton got injured late in the year. He wasn’t particularly effective in any facet of the game, reflected by his minus-0.6 fWAR. The 33-year-old batted just .240/.294/.332 with 28 runs scored, three home runs and 14 runs batted in. For a player that the Reds signed in large part for his speed, he stole just three bases and was a below average fielder. There’s a chance the Reds could bring him back on a minor-league deal, but it wouldn’t really serve much of a purpose to do so as he’s not a part of their future plans.

More from Blog Red Machine

Brought in to be a power threat off the bench, Boesch was a complete non-factor in 2015. In just 51 games, he managed to have a minus-1.4 fWAR as he batted a paltry .146/.191/.202 with three extra-base hits and did not perform well defensively either. Like Bourgeois, there’s no real reason to bring Boesch back in 2016.

Negron was also expected to be a contributor off the bench, but couldn’t build on his 2014 success. The 29-year-old never got rolling in 2015, struggling in his time at the major and minor league levels. With the Reds, he hit an unsightly .140/.238/.161 in 107 plate appearances. Negron is still a plus defender and can play nearly every position, so there’s a chance the Reds keep him in the organization for his versatility, but he’ll have to prove himself all over again to get another shot in the big leagues.

After another disappointing stint with the Reds, Holmberg was an easy choice to outright. Since coming to the Reds in the Ryan Hanigan trade, the 24-year-old has failed to impress in his 13 major-league games, sporting a 6.24 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and 7.92 FIP. A large reason for his struggles can be attributed to his ever-decreasing strikeout totals and steadily increasing walk totals. It’s a concerning sign for a pitcher who’s so young and while he still has time to turn things around, he’ll have a hard time getting back to Cincinnati with the plethora of other young pitchers he has to compete with.

Smith, 28, is in the same boat. He finally got his chance with all the trades and injuries, but his solid minor-league numbers didn’t translate to the majors. In nine games (seven starts), Smith went 0-4 with a 6.89 ERA, 1.93 WHIP and 5.67 FIP. Like Holmberg, he’ll have an uphill climb to get back to the majors.

After his call-up in June, Adcock showed flashes of potential with a mid-90s fastball and an impressive slider, but control issues were his enemy. He walked six batters per nine innings, which contributed to a 6.00 ERA in 18 innings. The 27-year-old’s season came to an end in August when he had to undergo Tommy John surgery for a torn UCL in his throwing elbow. Given that his injury occurred so late in the year, it’s likely that he’ll have to miss the entire 2016 season as well.

Balester was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash in June and made his way back to the majors in August for the first time since 2012. The stint did not go well, however, as he allowed 13 earned runs in 15.2 innings and walked as many hitters as he struck out (13). It would appear unlikely that he’ll be included in the Reds’ future plans.