The Cincinnati Reds have signed Nick Howard to a minor league contract. This move was first reported by Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Howard was the 1st round pick of the Reds in the 2014 draft. But after having to overcome the yips and having to undergo shoulder surgery, he struggled to develop and reach Triple-A. He was released by the Reds in June of 2019. Kansas City signed him three weeks later, but he never pitched with them during the remaining few weeks of the season. With no season in 2020 he didn’t pitch again, and he became a free agent in November.

The Reds also made their first cuts of the spring, but also made two promotions – which is something you never really see in spring training. Jonathan India and Brandon Finnegan, both of whom were in “early minor league camp” were extended big league camp invites. 11 other players were either reassigned to minor league camp or optioned to Triple-A.

Dwight Smith Jr. had played in nine games and gone 2-10 with three walks and four strikeouts. The outfielder was the only position player that was sent to minor league camp on Friday.

Pitchers Edgar García, Vladimir Gutiérrez, Ryan Hendrix, Riley O’Brien, Tony Santillan, and Jared Solomon were all optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Pitchers and non-roster invitees R.J. Alaniz, Matt Ball, Shane Carle, and Bo Takahashi were all reassigned to minor league camp. Here are the stats for each player heading into the game on Friday night.

Pitcher IP ERA H BB K
Bo Takahashi 1.0 0.00 0 0 1
Edgar García 2.2 6.75 3 1 3
Jared Solomon Tommy John surgery
Matt Ball Did Not Pitch
R.J. Alaniz 1.0 9.00 2 2 2
Riley O’Brien 2.0 0.00 0 1 4
Ryan Hendrix 2.0 4.50 2 0 3
Shane Carle 2.2 6.75 3 1 3
Tony Santillan 3.0 0.00 1 3 5
Vladimir Gutiérrez 4.0 0.00 2 1 6

Among this group of pitchers it was Vladimir Gutiérrez that stood out the most from a statistical standpoint. Manager David Bell spoke about his progression and how good he has looked this spring earlier this week. Of course we also knew that he wasn’t going to make the team out of the spring given that he’s still serving a suspension and has 20 games remaining before he’s eligible to pitch again.

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17 Responses

  1. Old Big Ed

    I’m not sure what it really means to be “reassigned to minor league camp” this year. Is there even an actual “minor league camp” right now? (I thought that this year it was going to start after the Reds left town.) What do the “reassigned” guys do differently that they did before? Park in a different parking lot? And Carle and Takahashi pitched last night, after being “reassigned,” and in fact you reported that the Reds took pains to make sure that Takahashi pitched.

    Is there some roster-related reason for this?

    • Doug Gray

      Yes, there is a minor league camp right now. Parking lot is still the same. Clubhouse is different. Where you practice is different (if you aren’t being brought in to play in the big league game that day). The money you get that day is different, too. You want to keep guys on schedule – if you can get them pitching, you’re going to do it.

  2. donny

    ‘As far as appearance’. If i didn’t hear who was up to bat or didn’t see the name on the back of the jersey. I wouldn’t know if it was India or Blandino.

    With Votto being hit with Covid and being behind with at bats in spring training.
    Will he miss the start of the season ? If so, i can see India starting the season on the reds. Could this be the reason he was officially invited into camp as non-roster invite.
    Bell could be thinking the same thing maybe ?

    As far as Votto is concerned . He really looked pretty good this spring with the bat.

    • MK

      Check the hair and India stands out. Not a criticism, as a bald guy I wish I had those locks.

      • DaveCT

        And the arms, legs, physique, good looks. From another bald guy

      • Doug Gray

        I can put you in touch with a wig guy. I have a contact.

      • MK

        Hey Doug, God made a few perfect heads and the rest He covered with hair. Wouldn’t want to cover up that perfection with a wig.

  3. MK

    Nick Travieso is pitching again and did so in Puerto Rico this winter. Thought they might make this move with him.

  4. DaveCT

    Billy Hamilton released by Cleveland. Wonder if he still has his middle infield glove.

  5. DaveCT

    I like that we’ve brought Howard back. Lets give him another chance and throw some support his way. Same with Traveiso if he’s interested.

    • Greg

      The chance to see if working with Boddy is beneficial is worth it.

  6. Norwood Nate

    Vlad stood out, but I also liked what I saw from O’Brien. The Reds have some talented young pitchers in the pipeline in Greene, Lodolo, Gutierrez, Santillan, O’Brien, and Richardson. Hope it works out a little better than the last time our prospects were pitching heavy. The group of Stephenson, Garrett, Romano, Reed, Travieso, and Lorenzen that was supposed to be the next big wave to fill in the rotation. Those guys largely became relievers or fringe roster guys. I will say that I like the development pieces/plan in place better now than what appeared to be in place back then.

    • CP

      That’s an interesting parallel you point out there Norwood Nate. I remember being very hopeful for the last “pipeline” of young pitchers, and many of them didn’t make a real/lasting/positive impact. All that being said, I cannot believe I am saying this, but I believe in the Reds system so much more now than before to develop its pitchers. The hiring of Kyle Boddy and others seems to have been such a steal/genius move!

      • Norwood Nate

        I agree, the pitching development in place is much better than it was then.

    • Reaganspad

      I really like the structure where DJ manages the pitchers throughout the organization. Find those that are open to your style and go for it. The open door of Driveline might also be paying benefits to cast the nets wide. That last class that Nate mentions is a great reason why to do just that.