The Reds should take a risk and sign this rehabbing right-handed reliever

The Reds might do well to take a flier on former Mariners relief pitcher Penn Murfee.

Seattle Mariners pitcher Penn Murfee
Seattle Mariners pitcher Penn Murfee / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages
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Penn Murfee has been with three different organizations over the past two months. Perhaps the Cincinnati Reds could offer the 29-year-old a more permanent home.

Murfee is a Vanderbilt alum who also pitched for Santa Clara University before being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 33rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Murfee has 80 major league appearances under his belt, but could miss the entire 2024 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery late last season. Should the Reds take a flier on the rehabbing right-handed reliever?

The Reds should take a risk and sign Penn Murfee

Penn Murfee has a solid track record during his first two major league seasons, The right-hander owns a 2.70 ERA and 27.9-percent strikeout-rate according to FanGraphs. Murfee, however, did struggle with walks in 2023, posting an unsightly 17.2-percent walk-rate.

But, for his career, Murfee has typically limited the free passes. In 2022, Murfee walked just 18 batters in 69.1 innings of work while striking out 76.

Murfee underwent Tommy John surgery in June after tearing his UCL. Typical return time from such an injury is about 12 months, so there's a chance that Murfee could return sometime after the 2024 All-Star break.

While Penn Murfee's impact on the 2024 season could be minimal, or even nonexistent, the reliever is still pre-arbitration eligible and won't become a free agent until after the 2028 season.

Penn Murfee was non-tendered earlier this month

After being claimed off waivers in October by the New York Mets, Murfee was picked up one month later by the Atlanta Braves. Murfee was then non-tendered by Atlanta in a move that helped them clear an additional roster spot for what many expect to be a busy offseason.

Adding Penn Murfee will only tie up a 40-man roster spot until spring, at which time the Cincinnati Reds could add him to the 60-day IL. Once he's fully recovered, Murfee could begin a rehab assignment next summer and possibily return to the Reds bullpen for a potential playoff push.

This would be a relatively low-risk move on the part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. At worst, Murfee would tie up a 40-man roster spot. But with players like Jose Barrero and Bubba Thompson holding onto a spot and roster currently at just 37 players, the Reds could squeeze him in.

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