The Cincinnati Reds have sent right handed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez to minor league camp. Lance McAlister was the first to report it. By a matter of seconds. Almost as if it were a timed release from everyone involved.
Reassigned to minor league camp non-roster invitee RHP Vladimir Gutierrez.
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) March 4, 2017
This is not much of a surprise. Vladimir Gutierrez had it in his contract that he would be invited to big league camp. The Reds stated from the very start that while he was there, not to expect much from him. He didn’t appear in a game for the club. The only time we really saw anything of him was yesterday afternoon. When Devin Mesoraco took like batting practice it was against the 21-year-old Cuban right hander.
It’s been a while since Vladimir Gutierrez has pitched in a truly competitive environment. His last time came in January of 2015 with Team Cuba as a 19-year-old. His last full season was in 2014 in Cuba where he posted a 2.45 ERA. At 18-years-old he had the second best strikeout rate in the league, more than double the league average. He was pitching out of the bullpen, throwing just 51.1 innings. He was one of the youngest “regular” players in the league at the time.
With all pitchers now in minor league camp it was a good time to send Gutierrez down. There was no chance he was making the 25-man roster. The team plans to put him into a starting pitching role in 2017. While they haven’t announced where he will begin the season, I am expecting it to be in Daytona with the Tortugas. That could change, but that’s what I’m expecting for now. In minor league camp he’ll be better prepared for the season than if he hung around in big league camp for another week or two, not getting much time on the mound against hitters.