Last night the Cincinnati Reds made a whole bunch of moves. They traded Kyle Farmer to the Minnesota Twins, acquiring right-handed pitcher Casey Legumina in return. Less than two hours later they traded Dauri Moreta to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielder Kevin Newman. Earlier in the evening the team non-tendered both Allan Cerda and Daniel Duarte. The night wasn’t over before Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the Reds had re-signed both of them to minor league deals.

Daniel Duarte was a bit of a surprising addition to the 40-man roster a year ago. He had thrown just 23.2 innings during the 2021 season and never threw more than 12.1 at any of the four levels he pitched at – though he did miss time while playing for Mexico in the Olympics. Overall he posted a 4.56 ERA with 12 walks and 32 strikeouts in the minors. But it seems that it was a good call given that he went into spring training and earned a spot on the big league roster out of Goodyear. It was not a season that went well, though. After just three big league appearances for Duarte he would wind up on the injured list and wouldn’t return to the mound until September. After a rehab stint in Triple-A the Reds optioned him to Louisville late in the month and he didn’t return to the big leagues.

An injury plagued season wound up costing Duarte his 40-man spot. That’s never a fun situation. But he’ll be returning to the Reds next year and with how the current bullpen looks there should be plenty of opportunity to get back on the roster if he can perform.

Allan Cerda’s non-tender was a bit of a surprise. He’s just 22-years-old and had never been called up to the big leagues and had two option years remaining. Cerda does some things very well, but he’s also a guy who struggled to make contact and hit for any sort of average in the minor leagues in 20222. He hit just .208 between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga this past season. He also struck out 168 times in 124 games. His strikeout rate did come down in Double-A, but he still struck out 30% of the time he stepped to the plate with the Lookouts.

But for all of the struggles with regards to hitting for average and making contact, he was a 22-year-old center fielder with good range, a big time arm, and a guy who hit 24 home runs while posting a .360 on-base percentage thanks to 84 walks (and 13 hit-by-pitches, which for him seems to be sort of a repeatable skillset as he’s been hit by 51 pitches in four seasons).

You could understand the move more if the team needed the roster spot right now, but they don’t (unless there’s a deal or two on the verge of being announced that would require two 40-man roster spots). Still, Cerda is coming back on a minor league deal for 2023. He’ll get at least another season to try and improve at the plate and depending on how that goes he could work his way back onto the roster.

19 Responses

  1. BK

    I was initially perplexed by the timing of these moves. But the Reds took advantage of the nontender deadline. To my knowledge, this is the only way they can remove a player without passing them through waivers where they could be claimed by another team. The MiLB free agent contracts were clearly good enough to get both players to pass on testing the open market. It was a small, but shrewd move.

    • Optimist

      +100, good front office work here. Especially with Duarte – he may make a difference/be very useful this year. Cerda clearly more of a project, but am I mistaken in thinking he’s on a Jose Siri career track?

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    I undestand this was the only way to remove Cerda and Duarte from the 40-man roster without DFA them or outright them , is it?

    • BK

      I’m not aware of another way to remove them from the 40-man roster without exposing them to waivers.

    • Doug Gray

      Yeah, they would either have had to DFA them or non-tender them.

  3. Matt

    Glad to see both remain with the organization. Both could realistically play their ways back onto the 40 man roster at some point.

    With the 40 man roster at 38, I wonder if there are other moves coming (a catcher, obviously), or if the Reds are positioning themselves to take a player or two at next month’s rule 5 draft. There are some interesting names available.

    • Michael B. Green

      One of those 40 if probably for a 2nd catcher – unless they go the minor league contract route like they did last year. If they do that, they’ll still need to add that 2nd catcher to the 40MR by or before Opening Day.

      Guessing we will see a catcher and an OF signing in the future.

    • Andrew

      The Reds should absolutely be in the Rule V market. I’d be all over Ethan Hankins who the Guardians didn’t protect. Could be a big time RP arm

  4. Greenfield Red

    So, here’s a question: When a player is signed or drafted he immediately enters a schedule where he has to be on the 40 man in so many years or be exposed to the Rule 5. Then once on the 40 man he is on another schedule (3 options).

    The question then is this: What happens to a guy like Cerda? He was on the schedule with 2 options remaining. Now he’s been taken off the 40 man and also off his schedule. Is there now a new schedule or is he year to year? Do his “rights” have to be dealt with every year?

    • Doug Gray

      Once a player reaches free agency (no matter how they get there), then they must be on the 40-man roster or they will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft (unless they are a free agent when the draft takes place, of course).

      This usually isn’t an issue teams worry about too often. Most minor league deals are only a year in length, so if a player isn’t added to the roster during the season then the chances aren’t good the team plans to add them in the offseason and the player then just heads back out into free agency. But sometimes that isn’t the case and you’ll get a situation like the Reds had back in 2017 when they chose to add Ariel Hernandez to the 40-man roster in October in order to keep him from heading off to minor league free agency.

      Now, with regards to Cerda – he will continue to have just two option years remaining. Those options, of course, only count if he’s added back to the 40-man roster and then sent to the minors after that.

      • Doug Gray

        No doubt. It feels like every year I learn 2-3 new ones and I’ve been at this for a lot longer than I’d like to admit (just because I then realize how old I’m getting!)

  5. Stock

    Signing Cerda and Duarte to minor league contracts is very smart. If there is no room for them this year there will without a doubt be no room for them next year.

    I am not a fan of the trades though.

    Farmer is without a doubt much better than Newman. From what I hear Farmer’s presence in the clubhouse was a huge plus. But even more important, Farmer was far superior in the field. I have heard the argument that Newman is better because Farmer had a WAR of 1.4 in 583 PA and Newman had a WAR of 1.3 in just 309 PA. But as a platoon player Newman is only playing when he has his best chance to succeed. Farmer is playing everyday.

    OPS vs. LHP:
    Farmer: .948 (27% of PA)
    Newman: .837 (34% of PA)

    OPS vs. RHP:
    Farmer: .611 (73% of PA)
    Newman: .611 (66% of PA)

    Both players have two years of control and in today’s world years of control trumps age. So the age difference does not matter.

    • Optimist

      I’ll grant you all those points, but does it matter all that much? On playoff contention teams, Farmer/Newman are likely bench pieces or bottom of the order hitters. Sure, one of them may be good for 2 or 3 more wins than the other, which matters to a 90-win team, but that’s not within sight for the 2023 Reds.

      As for the pitchers, they clearly have seen what Moreta can do, and his unsuitability for GABP (just a fact), so perhaps Legumina is slightly more apt given his potential. Again, extremely unlikely to matter at all in 2023.

      The bottom line is the bottom line here – saves a few million. What they do with that has been the dilemma for the past fifteen years or so.

    • BK

      I see the trades as relatively minor moves. The Reds secured roughly equal production while saving a projected $3M. The fact is, Newman may start at the beginning of the season, but it’s hard to see him lasting as a starter all year. The Reds have a bevy of middle infielders who will be at AAA. When they are ready, Newman (if he can beat out Barrero in Spring Training) will be traded or transition to a backup role.

      With the respect Farmer garnered in the clubhouse, it’s possible the Reds thought it best to find Farmer a better opportunity elsewhere now. While Farmer didn’t complain, I got the impression when he was interviewed that he didn’t like being moved from SS for Barrero. I don’t believe he saw himself as a utility player anymore. I realize this is quite speculative on my part.

      • CheapSeatRadio

        It might be speculative, but I don’t think you’re too far off. One way or the other, though, the Reds have seen Farmer’s ceiling, and it’s not worth taking at-bats away from all the kids coming up through the system.

    • Stock

      Thanks for your comments Optimist and BK. You two may have convinced me the Reds did not lose much even in the worst case scenario. I just see Rainey and Herget and feel the Reds give up on RP too soon. I think it comes down to Legumina. If the Reds think Legumina is someone who will throw strikes it may very well be a good pair of deals. I guess any Joe Boyle Optimist should be a Legumina Optimist (Pun Intended). That means the Optimist and I should like the pair of deals.

  6. Joe

    This seems to be a trend in all of MLB where they are leaving good defensive outfielder prospects available in their top 30. The Reds were smart to wait and see what the other teams did at the 40 man roster deadline and then react the way they did. I’ve been very critical in the past but the last 12 months they are running more like a small market selling players at highs and buying at lows.