TODAY: The Reds have officially announced the signing (via Twitter). Ciuffo has been assigned to Double-A and placed on the seven-day injured list.
TUESDAY: The Reds are nearing a minor league agreement with recently released catcher Nick Ciuffo, per a report from Roster Roundup (Twitter link). Ciuffo, who is still recovering from early-June thumb surgery, was cut loose by Tampa Bay last week. Based on the initial 8-10 week timeline that accompanied his surgery, he should be healthy in late July to mid August.
In need of a 40-man roster spot late last month, the Rays opted to designate Ciuffo for assignment in order to open space. Because injured players can’t be passed through outright waivers, Tampa Bay was limited in its options and released Ciuffo. It’s most common in these situations for the player to simply re-sign with his original organization on a minor league deal, but it seems that Ciuffo found an opportunity more to his liking with the Cincinnati organization. If the deal is ultimately completed, the Reds will hope to find some success with a second castoff Rays catcher; Curt Casali has batted .265/.343/.412 in 316 plate appearances since the Reds acquired him from the Rays in exchange for cash last season.
Ciuffo was the No. 21 overall pick by the Rays back in 2013. The 24-year-old hasn’t found much success in either Triple-A or the big leagues, however. Ciuffo has a .228/.276/.350 batting line in Triple-A Durham this season and has mustered only a .529 OPS in a tiny sample of 50 big league plate appearances dating back to 2018. The South Carolina native carries a .250/.292/.369 hitter in 370 Triple-A plate appearances to go along with solid framing marks and a career 42 percent caught-stealing rate.