The Reds have signed righty Vance Worley to a minors deal that includes an invitation to the MLB side of Spring Training, per a club announcement. He’ll receive an opt-out opportunity at the end of camp and can earn a $1.5MM salary in the majors, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter links).
Worley, 30, contributed 71 2/3 innings over a dozen starts and another dozen relief appearances last year for the Marlins. He ended the season with an unsightly 6.91 ERA, though his peripherals suggest there was some poor fortune baked into the results.
On the year, Worley managed 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, and a 48.6% groundball rate — all numbers that land near his career averages. But he stranded just 64.5% of runners to reach against him and was tagged for a .378 batting average on balls in play. While that latter mark was deserved to an extent, it appears somewhat out of line given that Worley surrendered a .405 wOBA but carried a .364 xwOBA.
Of course, Worley enjoyed much better fortune in a 86 2/3-inning stint with the Orioles in 2016, when he managed a 3.53 ERA. As ever, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. All things considered, Worley has worked at or slightly above replacement level for the past several seasons.
Cincinnati is obviously looking primarily for solid veteran depth, while Worley is no doubt intrigued by the opportunity on a staff that has many options but few sure things. It’s conceivable that he could have a shot at breaking camp with the Reds either as a starter or a reliever.