The Reds announced Wednesday that they’ve claimed catcher Juan Graterol off waivers from the Twins after he’d been placed on outright waivers. Cincinnati already had a pair of open 40-man roster spots, so not corresponding move is necessary.
Graterol, 29, only appeared in three games with the Twins after having his contract selected in late September. He’d previously appeared in 58 games at the Major League level with the Angels organization and is a lifetime .217/.227/.274 hitter in 111 plate appearances as a big leaguer. He’s notched a more respectable .289/.316/.346 slash in 572 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, but Graterol is known more as a defensive-minded backstop than a threat at the plate. He’s halted 38 percent of stolen-bases attempts against him in parts of 13 minor league seasons and thrown out 12 of 36 potential base thieves in the Majors (33 percent). He’s also routinely posted average or better framing numbers, per Baseball Prospectus.
Despite his shortcomings at the plate, Graterol’s defensive capabilities have made him a popular target on the waiver wire in the past. In the 2016-17 offseason, for instance, he went from the Angels, to the Reds, to the Diamondbacks, back to the Angels and then to the Blue Jays via waiver claim in a span of two months. After opening the season in the Jays organization, he was then flipped back to the Angels in a minor trade. Graterol still has a minor league option remaining beyond the 2018 season, so if he survives the winter on a 40-man roster (be it with the Reds or another organization), his team in Spring Training will be able to send him to the minors without first exposing him to waivers.