I have to be honest, I'm a little surprised the Cincinnati Reds gave up on Buck Farmer so quickly. Granted, it's the correct move, but it certainly isn't one that we've seen from the front office in the past.
On Friday, the Reds added newly acquired pitcher Robert Dugger to the 26-man roster and designated Farmer for assignment. Farmer got touched up his last time on the mound and rather than ride things out with the veteran, Cincinnati decided to just cut ties.
We've not seen that in the past with such relievers as Nate Jones, Sean Doolittle, and Zach Duke. The Reds have always had an affinity for veteran relievers, but this move perhaps suggests a change in thinking in terms of how the organization values its young relief corps.
The Reds DFA'd Buck Farmer rather than optioning Dauri Moreta.
Don't get me wrong, the right move was to designate Buck Farmer for assignment. I'm just surprised the Cincinnati Reds did the right thing. Farmer covered 12 innings in 10 appearances out of the Reds bullpen this spring.
The right-hander owned a 6.75 ERA but a solid 4.43 FIP. Farmer's 12.79 K/9 represented a career-best for the veteran reliever and his 28.8% strikeout-rate was a career-high. Farmer's last outing was undoing as he surrendered four runs on three hits while walking one batter.
In order to make room for Dugger on the roster, Cincinnati's only other choice would have been to option Dauri Moreta back to Triple-A. The fact that the Reds decided instead to DFA Farmer suggests that the club values what the rookie brings to table and should give Moreta confidence as he continues to progress during his first major league season.
According to Baseball Savant, both Buck Farmer and Dauri Moreta rank in the 84th percentile in whiff-rate. Moerta's fastball velocity also ranks very highly, while Farmer's is only among the top 35% in the game.
Whatever metric the Cincinnati Reds front office may have been using to make the decision, they made the right one. The Reds are essentially out of contention at this stage of the game, and the focus should shift from winning to development. That's a hard pill to swallow at this early-stage of the season, but it's true.