Cincinnati Reds: The sneaky-good trade for Art Warren

Sep 12, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Art Warren (43) throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Art Warren (43) throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Reds newest hurler is a University of Cincinnati alum.

Art Warren doesn’t have much of a major league resumé, but that didn’t deter the Cincinnati Reds from bringing the Ohio native home in last week’s trade with the Texas Rangers. After being designated for assignment by the Rangers, the Reds front office stepped in and acquired the right-hander for cash considerations. This trade has the potential to be a good one for Cincinnati.

Warren has bounced around the past few months. Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 23rd round of the 2015 MLB Draft, Warren was claimed off waivers by the Texas and subsequently dealt to Cincinnati after the Rangers designated the pitcher for assignment following their acquisition of Kohei Ariharta.

Warren put together impressive stats during his minor league career. Over the course of five seasons, Warren went 18-6 in 119 games, including 20 starts. The right-hander struck out 233 batters over 229.2 innings of work and posted a 2.86 ERA.

Warren was a Top 20 prospect in the Mariners’ farm system as recent as 2018 according to MLB Pipeline. Warren was a starter during his first full season as a professional, then was relegated to a relief role where he shined for the Modesto Nuts.

In 2017, Art Warren went 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 64.2 innings of work and recorded eight saves for Seattle’s Advanced-A affiliate. Warren continued his dominance that fall in the Arizona Fall League, allowing no runs over 11.1 innings and striking out 12 batters.

Warren was slowed by a shoulder injury that kept him out of action for the majority of the 2018 season, and despite being left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, no team was willing to take a chance on the young right-hander.

Before the injury, Art Warren was hitting 97-98 MPH on the radar gun. In 2019, while pitching for Double-A Arkansas, Warren posted a 1.71 ERA and closed out games without missing a beat. The Ohio native recorded 15 saves and earned a promotion to the big leagues where he pitched in six games, recorded five strikeouts, and didn’t allow a single run.

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Art Warren has two minor league options remaining, so he fits the mold of what Nick Krall and the Cincinnati Reds are looking for in terms of a relief pitcher with roster flexibility. While it would be a bit presumptions to think that Warren will enter the conversation to be the team’s closer in 2021, don’t think that he won’t see the field, perhaps as early as Opening Day.