Reds DFA key piece of Luis Castillo trade package in favor of speedy outfielder

This was a bit surprising.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Levi Stoudt
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Levi Stoudt / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds must really like Bubba Thompson. On Tuesday, the Reds claimed Thompson off waivers from the Minnesota after the speedy outfielder was designated for assignment for the fourth time this offseason. Since the 40-man roster was maxed out, the Reds chose to DFA Levi Stoudt.

Stoudt was, of course, part of the trade package that Cincinnati received in 2022 in exchange for former ace, Luis Castillo. The Reds acquired Stoudt, shortstop Edwin Arroyo, infielder Noelvi Marte, and pitcher Andrew Moore.

Stoudt had a cup of coffee with the Reds in 2023, mostly as a spot starter. The 26-year-old was dreadful during his first start. To be fair, Stoudt was pitted against the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays who just used the 84 pitches he tossed for batting practice. Stoudt faced 21 batters and allowed seven runs on nine hits. Stoudt pitched in just over 10 innings in the bigs last season with a 9.58 ERA.

Reds DFA Levi Stoudt in favor of Bubba Thompson

Stoudt, however, not only struggled in the majors, but during his minor league stint as well . In 2023, Stoudt was exceedingly erratic. The right-hander pitched in 25 games for Triple-A Louisville, but owned 6.23 ERA and 1.664 WHIP. Stoudt walked 50 batters in just over 82 innings with the Louisville Bats last season.

Stoudt wasn't the crown jewel of the return for Castillo, but the Reds at least expected him to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. However, with the additions of Nick Martinez and Frankie Montas in free agency, a spot in the rotation was going to be difficult to come by.

In addition to the two veterans, Cincinnati also has Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Connor Phillips, Andrew Abbott, Lyon Richardson, Brandon Williamson, and Carson Spiers vying for a spot in the rotation.

Stoudt could remain with the organization if he clears waivers and accpets an outright assignment to the minors. However, with so many teams looking for talented arms this time of year, it would a bit surprising to see Stoudt remain with the Reds.

Bubba Thompson is be in line to grab that final spot on the Cincinnati Reds bench. The former first-round pick has minor-league options remaining, so even if he doesn't break camp with the Reds, Cincinnati can keep him within the organization.