Reds: Too many free passes warrant Jeff Hoffman’s dismissal

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: Starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman #23 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts in first inning. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: Starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman #23 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts in first inning. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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I fully expect we’ll hear that Jeff Hoffman will soon be placed on the 10-day injured list with shoulder soreness, but once his stint on the IL is complete, the Cincinnati Reds need to designate Hoffman for assignment.

When the Reds and Rockies flipped former first-round picks, both ball clubs were taking a gamble that a change of scenery would be the key to unlocking the potential of two wayward pitchers. Hoffman now owns a 4.61 ERA through 10 starts and Robert Stephenson has 20 relief appearances and a 4.58 ERA. Both pitchers are we they thought they were.

The Reds need to cut ties with Jeff Hoffman.

At this point, Jeff Hoffman is taking an opportunity away from one of the Cincinnati Reds younger hurlers. Hoffman walked five batters in just 1.1 innings last night. A former first-round selection of the Toronto Blue Jays, Hoffman has labored through the majority of his starts.

The right-hander had a nice start in his first game for the Reds. Hoffman went five strong, allowed just one run on three hits and didn’t walk a batter while punching out six. Unfortunately, until his start against the Milwaukee Brewers last week, Hoffman has been limping along. Even that contest saw Hoffman walk four batters in five innings.

Hoffman can’t seem to locate his pitches. After not allowing a single walk through five innings versus the St. Louis Cardinals on April 4th, Hoffman has gotten past the sixth inning just once, and walked 27 batters over the last nine games. Hoffman’s BB/9 during that span is a ridiculous 6.75. HIs ERA during that same timeframe is 5.00.

The Reds have plenty of viable replacements in the minor leagues.

It’s not as if the Cincinnati Reds don’t have any viable replacements in their farm system. Reds Country will be excited to see Top 15 prospect Vladimir Gutierrez get his first major league start one Friday versus the Chicago Cubs, but there are others at Triple-A Louisville as well.

José De León is a name most Cincinnati fans probably don’t want to see. After all free passes were a glaring weakness in De León’s game as well. De León’s strikeout-rate of 36.3% is quite impressive, but his 13.3% walk-rate is not.

Tony Santillan is ready for his opportunity as well. The former second-round pick is off to a .tremendous start for the Louisville Bats, going 1-1 in four starts with a 1.86 ERA through 19.1 innings of work.

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Look for Jeff Hoffman to head to the IL after exiting Wednesday’s game with shoulder soreness. If Wade Miley is able to return after his 10 days on the IL are up, then we should expect Gutierrez to remain in the bigs and take Hoffman’s turn in the rotation.