The Reds have released right-handed reliever Carlos Contreras, tweets Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Buchanan further notes that Contreras had been placed on waivers upon being optioned to the minors earlier in the week, and he subsequently cleared, paving the way for his release. The team’s 40-man roster now stands at 38 players.
Contreras, 25, has spent parts of the past two seasons in the Cincinnati ’pen, compiling a 5.51 ERA with 7.2 K/9 against a more troublesome 7.0 BB/9 across 47 1/3 innings. The 5’11”, 215-pound right-hander has averaged nearly 93 mph on his heater in that time, and he missed plenty of bats at the Triple-A level last season, albeit with the same lack of control he’s displayed in the Majors. In 39 2/3 innings with Triple-A Louisville in 2015, Contreras posted a 55-to-30 K/BB ratio to complement a strong 2.95 ERA.
Baseball America previously ranked Contreras as highly as seventh among Reds farmhands. Their scouting report that year, prior to the 2014 campaign, praised his plus fastball and changeup, also noting an improved slider that gave him a chance to remain in the rotation. However, BA also noted that Cabrera’s arm action led to control problems that could impact his future, and clearly those concerns have diminished his contributions to this point.
It’s unclear at this time what prompted the Reds to release Contreras rather than keep him in the minor leagues. It seems possible that an overseas club had some interest in Contreras, given his quality ERA and strikeout marks in the upper minors. If that’s not the case, Contreras will look to latch on with another organization. Having just turned 25 in January, Contreras would figure to pique the interest of other teams on a minors contract.