The Reds announced on Friday that they’ve claimed infielder/outfielder Richie Shaffer off waivers from the Phillies and also claimed right-hander Tyrell Jenkins off waivers from the Rangers. Both players were recently designated for assignment by their now-former organizations.
Shaffer, 25, spent parts of the 2015-16 seasons at the Major League level with the Rays but batted a disappointing .213/.310/.410 in 142 plate appearances. The former first-round pick has been considerably more productive at the Triple-A level, where he’s slashed .243/.338/.445 with 30 homers in 188 games. Shaffer, a right-handed hitter, has experience at all four corner positions but has spent the majority of the time at first base. In his big league career, he’s actually been better against right-handed pitching than left-handers, but he doesn’t come with much of a platoon split looking back throughout his minor league career. He’ll presumably compete for a bench job with Cincinnati in Spring Training.
Jenkins, meanwhile, has moved around the league quite a bit in the past couple of years. The former Cardinals top prospect (drafted No. 50 overall in 2010) went to the Braves in the Jason Heyward/Shelby Miller deal back in 2014, and Atlanta traded him to Texas earlier this month. The Rangers, though, designated Jenkins for assignment this week and weren’t able to pass him through waivers. Jenkins draws plenty of praise for his athleticism, but he’s posted rather unsightly numbers in the Majors (5.88 ERA, 4.5 K/9, 5.7 BB/9 in 52 innings) and in questionable rate stats in Triple-A (2.86 ERA in 129 innings but with 5.9 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9). Jenkins won’t turn 25 until July, however, so the Reds are adding a bit of upside at minimal cost for the time being. (It seems far from a given that Jenkins will survive the offseason on Cincinnati’s 40-man roster.)