The Reds announced they’ve selected reliever Dauri Moreta to the big league roster. (Héctor Gómez of Z 101 previously reported Moreta’s impending call-up). Infielder Mike Moustakas has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to September 21, due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. To clear space on the 40-man roster for Moreta, Cincinnati designated R.J. Alaniz for assignment.
Moreta is up for his first call after spending six years in the minors. He signed with the Reds as a 19-year-old (three years older than most international amateur prospects) during the 2015-16 signing period. Moreta has worked exclusively out of the bullpen since signing, and immediately racked up huge strikeout totals. He partially offset that massive swing-and-miss stuff by issuing too many free passes early in his career, but Moreta has made significant strides as a strike-thrower in recent years.
In High-A in 2019, Moreta walked only 4.1% of opponents. That was half his walk percentage from Low-A the season prior and nowhere near the untenable control issues he’d shown in rookie ball. Moreta has retained that improved command even after the lost minor league campaign in 2020. He’s split this year between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville, combining for a 1.02 ERA with a 29.1% strikeout percentage and just a 4.5% walk rate. Moreta’s strikeout tally fell precipitously after he made the jump from Double-A to Triple-A, but he’s continued to post highly effective bottom line results against top minor league hitters.
Adding Moreta to the bullpen mix bumps Alaniz from the roster. Signed to a minor league deal over the offseason, the 30-year-old was promoted to the majors in mid-July. He’s worked just 2 2/3 big league innings this season, bringing his career total to 18 1/3. Alaniz has an 8.35 ERA at the big league level with worse than average peripherals.
While he’s yet to find big league success, the right-hander has had a nice season with Louisville. Across 39 frames of relief with the Bats, Alaniz owns a 3.46 ERA with a solid 26.9% strikeout rate and an average 10.2% walk percentage. Alaniz has previously been outrighted in his career, so he’d have the right to elect free agency and explore opportunities elsewhere if he passes through waivers unclaimed.
Moustakas winds up back on the injured list with a right foot issue for the second time this season. In mid-May, he was placed on the IL due to a heel contusion. He suffered a setback during a minor league rehab appearance and wound up missing more than two months.
With just a week and a half left in the regular season, it’s possible this latest injury ends Moustakas’ season. The Reds have fallen four games behind the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card race, making them increasingly unlikely to reach the playoffs. Moustakas is hitting a career-worst .208/.282/.372, including a .177/.225/.313 line since he returned from the injured list. He’s guaranteed $38MM over the next two years (including a buyout on a 2024 club option). With Jonathan India having locked down second base, Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez — who’s having a very poor season himself — could be in line to split time at the hot corner moving forward.