The Reds announced today that they’ve designated right-hander Jose De Leon and outfielder Mark Payton for assignment in order to clear 40-man roster space for right-handers Edgar Garcia and R.J. Alaniz, whose contracts have been selected from Triple-A Louisville. Cincinnati also formally placed righty Michael Lorenzen on the 10-day IL due to a hamstring strain — as manager David Bell first announced yesterday — and optioned lefty Cionel Perez to Louisville.
De Leon, 28, was one of the game’s top pitching prospects but had his development derailed by injuries, most notably Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. The Reds picked him up from the Rays in a deal that sent cash back to Tampa Bay, and he’s tossed 24 1/3 innings for them dating back to 2020. De Leon has whiffed 43 of the 126 batters he’s faced in that time (34.1 percent), but he’s also been clobbered for 29 runs in that time. Control has been a problem, as evidenced by a 17.6 percent walk rate and a pair of hit batters in that time.
Cincinnati took Payton, now 29, out of the A’s organization in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft but returned him to Oakland in early July last summer. The Reds thought highly enough of Payton to eventually acquire him in a trade, but he’s yet to produce much in limited chances. Payton has logged just 44 plate appearances since 2020, hitting .175/.250/.200 in that time. He’s hitting .281/.331/.446 in Triple-A this season and has a career .296/.368/.508 slash in parts of five seasons at that level.
Garcia, 24, signed a minor league deal with the Reds last December. He’s pitched in parts of two big league seasons with the Phillies and Rays but struggled to a 6.17 ERA in that time. Garcia has been sharp in Triple-A this season, however, pitching to a 3.38 ERA with a 29.6 percent strikeout rate, a 13.2 percent walk rate and a massive 70.4 percent ground-ball rate. Garcia has spent parts of three seasons in Triple-A and compiled 3.28 ERA in 57 1/3 frames.
Alaniz will be returning for his second stint with the Reds, who non-tendered him this past offseason. Alaniz has just 15 2/3 innings of work at the MLB level and has yielded 16 runs in that time. Like Garcia, though, he’s been quite effective down in Louisville this year, working to a 2.25 ERA with a very strong 31.5 percent strikeout rate against a 7.1 percent walk rate.