The Cincinnati Reds, in their search to beef up the bullpen, have signed former first-round pick Braden Shipley to a minor-league deal. Shipley was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013, but hasn’t made an appearance in the major leagues since 2018.
Shipley, along with former Reds reliever Archie Bradley, represented the top two prospects in the Arizona farm system according to MLB Pipeline. Shipley, a former shortstop at the University of Nevada, posted a 7.20 ERA during his last major league season.
Braden Shipley fits what the Reds front office is looking for.
Nick Krall made everyone aware before the start of the offseason that he was on the lookout for bullpen arms with minor league options remaining. Krall wants the flexibility to be able to yo-yo young pitchers up and down I-71 between Cincinnati and the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Louisville.
Adding Braden Shipley to the mix does just that, as the soon-to-be 29-year-old has one minor-league option remaining. I’d put Shipley’s chances of making the major league roster as slim-to-none coming out of Goodyear, but a solid showing with the Bats could get Shipley brought up to the bigs later in 2021.
Shipley has seen a stark drop in his numbers over the past few seasons, which is the biggest contributor for his absence from The Show. Shipley, according to FanGraphs, saw his strikeout-rate tumble from 27.0% in the minors during 2014 to little better than 14% during his three seasons in the major leagues.
Braden Shipley wasn’t the only addition the Reds made on Wednesday.
In addition to signing Braden Shipley to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training, Cincinnati also picked up Max Schrock, an infielder who spent last season with the St. Louis Cardinals. Schrock was picked up off waivers after being designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs.
Adding Schrock is purely a move to add depth to Cincinnati’s infield. Schrock plays second and third base and over the course of five minor league seasons, the left-handed hitter has a slash line of .300/.354/.406 with 24 home runs and 205 RBIs.
While neither one is the move all of Reds Country is hoping for, both give the team some measure of depth. I don’t expect Shipley or Schrock to be part of the Opening Day roster, but both may see time in the bigs during 2021 with the Cincinnati Reds.