O'Brien was thought to be in competition to be the Reds fifth starter, but instead the right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Louisville as Cincinnati decided to go with Tyler Mahle, Hunter Greene, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Reiver Sanmartin to open the season as four of the team's five starters.
Lodolo joined the rotation last Wednesday. His addition required the Reds to make a corresponding move. Daniel Duarte was optioned to Triple-A Louisville and O'Brien was DFA'd.
Riley O'Brien produced next-to-nothing in a Reds uniform.
Once a player is designated for assignment, he's immediately removed from the 40-man roster and the team has seven days to place him on irrevocable waivers or trade him. The Cincinnati Reds chose to do the latter with Riley O'Brien.
The Cincinnati Reds traded Cody Reed during the 2020 season in exchange for Riley O'Brien. Reed's time in Cincinnati yielded a 5.44 ERA over five seasons and it became apparent that the southpaw was never going to match the expectations the Reds had for him.
O'Brien presented Cincinnati with a young, talented arm. The right-hander has a four-pitch mix, but after spending nearly all of last season at Triple-A Louisville, O'Brien showed the ability to get strikeouts, but was also incredibly inconsistent.
The 27-year-old made a spot start for Luis Castillo last season and promptly gave up two home runs in 1.1 innings of work against the Chicago White Sox. Riley O'Brien was pulled after facing just nine batters. He gave up two runs on two hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
This wasn't a big loss for the Cincinnati Reds, as it appeared as though the team was content converting O'Brien into a reliever. O'Brien's lone appearance in Triple-A this season was a three-inning relief outing.
Who will the Redlegs receive in return? That's to be determined, and there's always the option for team to accept cash considerations as well. But seeing how the Cincinnati Reds are looking to strengthen their farm system, this appears to be a good opportunity to do just that.