Cincinnati Reds: Reuniting with former pitcher Tanner Roark feels right

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays parted ways with former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tanner Roark on Wednesday. After signing the right-hander to a two-year pact following the 2019 season, Roark cleared waivers and was granted his outright release.

This feels like a reunion that Reds management could get behind. After signing a two-year/$24M contract and posting a 6.75 ERA over his last 14 games, Roark won’t be looking to break the bank. Cincinnati GM Nick Krall could probably lure Roark back to the Queen City on a minor-league deal with the opportunity to start.

Tanner Roark was a starting pitcher for the Reds in 2019.

Tanner Roark is not going to win a Cy Young Award, but the 34-year-old could certainly provide the Cincinnati Reds with depth in their starting rotation, and even replace the less-than-ideal Jeff Hoffman. The right-handed throwing Hoffman, who started out the season well, has fallen off of late.

Hoffman last outing was less than stellar and his propensity to walk batters is becoming troublesome. The former Colorado Rockies hurler owns a 4.39 BB/9 and his walk-rate is up from 8.7% in 2020 to 11.7% in 2021 according to FanGraphs.

While Tanner Roark is certainly not an ideal candidate to add to the Cincinnati rotation, with Michael Lorenzen on the shelf for at least another month, if not two, there aren’t a lot of options. Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene just began their minor league seasons at Double-A Chattanooga, and David Bell seems set on keeping Tejay Antone in the bullpen for now.

Tanner Roark had success with the Reds before being traded to the Athletics.

The Reds dealt Roark to the Oakland Athletics prior to the trade deadline in 2019. Inn return, Cincinnati received minor league outfield prospect Jameson Hannah. Interestingly enough, Hannah was traded to the Colorado Rockies in the deal that brought Jeff Hoffman and Case Williams to Cincinnati.

No, this wouldn’t be a blockbuster signing; we haven’t seen that since the 2019 offseason. However, if Krall could sign Tanner Roark to a minor-league deal loaded with performance incentives, what do the Reds have to lose?

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Adding Roark to the starting rotation would give Derek Johnson a reliable workhorse who could toe the rubber every fifth day. The addition would also enable the Reds to move Hoffman to the bullpen after shipping José De León back to Triple-A Louisville. This has the makings of a win-win scenario for Tanner Roark and the Cincinnati Reds.