The Reds announced this morning that they’ve filled the final two spots on their 30-man roster by selecting the contracts of infielders Christian Colon and Matt Davidson. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Justin Shafer and left-hander Josh D. Smith were designated for assignment.
Colon, 31, returns for a second season with the Cincinnati organization. The former No. 4 overall draft pick (Royals, 2010) spent the bulk of the 2019 season with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate in Louisville, hitting .300/.372/.443. He joined the big league club late in the year but only tallied eight plate appearances. Colon has played second base, third base and shortstop in the Majors, but he’s never justified that lofty draft status. In 150 big league games, he’s a .256/.321/.318 hitter.
The 29-year-old Davidson was a top pick himself in 2009 (No. 35 to the White Sox) and long rated as one of MLB’s top 100 prospects. Strikeout issues have long plagued the slugger, however, and in parts of four big league seasons he’s a .226/.295/.435 hitter with 49 home runs and a 34.5 percent strikeout rate. Davidson, who hit .264/.339/.527 with the Rangers’ Triple-A club in 2019, was at one point experimenting with a role as a two-way player. However, he’s only tossed three professional innings, and the Reds listed him as a pure infielder.
Shafer, meanwhile, has been designated for assignment by his second team in eight months. The Blue Jays designated him last November after a shaky showing in his first 48 MLB frames. Shafer turned in a solid 3.75 ERA in that span, but he also walked 32 batters and plunked another two in that time. His 5.52 FIP paints a much less favorable picture. Shafer has excelled in both Double-A and Triple-A, and he still has a pair of minor league option remaining — all of which likely appealed to the Reds when they acquired him (for cash) shortly after his original DFA. Cincinnati will have a week to trade Shafer, release him, or try to pass him through outright waivers.
Smith, 30, made his MLB debut last season but struggled to a 6.39 ERA in 12 2/3 innings between Cleveland and Miami. He’s worked 164 frames across four Triple-A seasons and carries a 3.02 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in that time. The Reds claimed him off waivers from the Marlins this past offseason.