Reds Add Bullpen Depth in Trades With Blue Jays, Astros

Over the last two days, the Reds have made a couple of small trades — acquiring Hector Perez from Toronto for a PTBNL or cash and Cionel Pérez from Houston for former South Carolina catcher Luke Berryhill — to bolster their bullpen depth. These are the latest in a series of transactions that are part of an obvious effort to pick up change of scenery candidates (Jeff Hoffman, the Perez(s), Art Warren), or players falling off the bottom of other rosters (Edgar Ernesto Garcia, Brandon Bailey) to try to create an above-replacement injury/COVID safety valve at the bottom of Cincinnati’s active roster and in the upper minors. This might prove especially important if the team’s 2021 innings are spread across more pitchers to prevent huge workload increases after the shortened season.

Even if I could rub a lamp and wish that Jeff Hoffman would magically become what I once thought he would, it wouldn’t offset the high-profile losses Cincinnati has suffered in free agency (likely Trevor Bauer) and trade (Raisel Iglesias), and may yet lose in other rumored deals (any of their other starters) that could soon occur as the shadows of the offseason grow longer.

But, briefly, on these two new bullpen pieces: Cionel Pérez was once a top 100 prospect (mid-90s from the left side, plus slider, viable curveball and changeup) whose control I over-graded when he signed and was too slow to correct. Rather than turn into the multi-inning bullpen stopper I hoped, he was relegated to up/down duty in Houston and lost rookie status in 2020. He still works in the mid-90s and has an above-average slider, and he’ll still throw an occasional changeup, but he has largely shelved the curve. The Reds only have two other lefties on their 40-man (Amir Garrett and Wade Miley), one of whom is likely to start, the other to close, so they need a situational lefty somewhere in the bullpen. Pérez is the favorite in the clubhouse right now, with Jesse Biddle (rubs lamp again) and Josh Osich in the NRI mix in that order.

Houston gets Luke Berryhill, an upper-level org catcher with strength-based pull power, a plus arm, and an ugly swing.

Hector Perez is still prospect-eligible and has been added to the Reds list On The Board, so you can see his full report there.

As for the Blue Jays’ returns, note that teams have six months to name a PTBNL. Based on the indeterminate timeline for minor league spring training, I’d guess it’ll be quite a while before Toronto’s return is known, if it’s even a player. I’ll go further and speculate, based on Toronto’s 40-man situation, that it’ll be a player who was signed fairly recently and therefore has a longer Rule 5 Draft roster timeline.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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walkish
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walkish

With PTBNL are they always determined ahead of time but just not public or are they sometimes determined later?

Seamaholic
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Seamaholic

Definitely the latter, I would think. I don’t know chapter and verse, but the idea of a guy having been traded but still playing for his old organization (and not even having been notified himself) strikes me as something that wouldn’t be allowed under the rules.

Pascal
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Pascal

Determined later; there’s usually a short list of players that the acquiring team wants to scout more before making their decision

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

Previously, some PTBNL were determined beforehand and announced later, but I think most of the cases where that would be needed got thrown out after the Trea Turner debacle. Other cases included this past season, where only players on the 60-man roster could be traded in-season, and several trades this offseason where players were traded after they were not picked in the Rule 5 draft.

PTBNL’s often are players that are hurt or otherwise need more evaluation. Teams come up with a list of acceptable prospects and then the acquiring team picks one after some time.