Should the Reds take a flier on former pitcher Robert Stephenson?

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Robert Stephenson.
Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Robert Stephenson. / John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
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Robert Stephenson was designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies after the team reinstated Chad Kuhl from the Injured List. The Cincinnati Reds traded Stephenson to the Rockies after the 2020 season in exchange for reliever Jeff Hoffman.

Stephenson never lived up to the hype of being a first round pick. Taken with the 27th overall selection in 2012, the Reds and their fans expected big things of Stephenson once he reached the big leagues. He was a highly-touted, hard-throwing right-hander out of California.

The Reds were incredibly patient with Stephenson and gave him multiple opportunities to find success in the big leagues. Stephenson's best season came as reliever in 2019, but he was unable to duplicate that success in 2020.

The Reds should take a flier on former RHP Robert Stephenson.

At this point, what do the Cincinnati Reds have to lose except for more games. The team is barely ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central and the Reds have suffered countless injuries to both their starting rotation and their bullpen.

The Reds also just watched T.J. Zeuch throw 81 pitches in 2.2 innings on Wednesday night. The starter allowed six earned runs on seven hits while also walking four batters. Zeuch did not record a single strikeout and can't be counted on going forward.

Cincinnati, with Graham Ashcraft and Hunter Greene on the IL, have been forced to add Luis Cessa to a starting rotation that includes Mike Minor (2-10 6.44 ERA) and Justin Dunn (1-1 6.08 ERA). The Reds could do a lot worse than Robert Stephenson.

After being traded, Stephenson had success during his first year in Colorado. In 49 appearances out of the Rockies' bullpen, the right-hander posted a 3.13 ERA and struck out 52 batters in 46 innings of work. Stephenson has not experienced the same success this season as his ERA has ballooned to 6.04 and K/9 is down from 10.2 to 7.5.

The Cincinnati Reds do not have many viable options at Triple-A unless the front office is willing to select Brandon Williamson's contract. If that's not the case, perhaps giving Robert Stephenson one more chance would at least bolster the bullpen over the final month of the season. The Reds could also turn to Dauri Moreta, Jared Solomon, or Ryan Hendrix.

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