Reds news: Waiver claim adds depth behind the plate

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Deivy Grullon #73 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Deivy Grullon #73 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

Deivy Grullon gives the Reds an experienced backstop.

The Cincinnati Reds made a waiver claim on Wednesday, picking up catcher Deivy Grullon. No, the 24-year-old doesn’t have an extensive major league résumé, but Grullon will add catching depth to the team’s minor league system.

Grullon has seen the major leagues in the 2019 with the Philadelphia Phillies and 2020 with the Boston Red Sox. However, he’s made just 13 plate appearances during those two seasons and started just three games behind the plate.

The Cincinnati Reds plan to enter the 2021 season with the catching tandem of Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Stephenson. It’s highly likely we’ll see David Bell turn to Barnhart when the opposing pitcher is right-handed and will call upon Stephenson when a southpaw on the bump.

Cincinnati made the unpopular, but necessary decision to non-tender Curt Casali earlier this winter. While the move didn’t sit well with a certain contingent of Reds faithful, it saved the team approximately $2M and allows Stephenson to earn a bigger role with the club in 2021.

Deivy Grullon will likely start the season at Triple-A Louisville and act as a replacement should Barnhart or Stephenson land on the injured list sometime in 2021. That’s only if Bell decides not to turn to do-everything utility player Kyle Farmer. Farmer, who was non-tendered and then re-signed, has experience donning the tools of ignorance as well.

During his minor league career, Grullon has posted a slash line of .253/.305/.405, but in 108 games at the Triple-A level, Grullon hit .283/.354/.496 with 21 home runs and 77 RBIs. MLB Pipeline cites Grullon’s arm as one of the best in the minor leagues.

This move is little more than adding depth behind Barnhart, Stephenson, and Farmer, but giving Cincinnati a catcher they can turn to in a pinch is valuable. Aside from Grullon, Chris Okey might be the best option for the Reds in an emergency situation.

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The Cincinnati Reds also added bullpen depth yesterday with the signing of Edgar García who’s spent time with the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays. García is a strike thrower who’s fastball/ slider combo could work well out of the Cincinnati bullpen.