The Reds have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran right-hander Zack Godley, reports Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). The team has not yet announced the deal, although the Sports Pro Services client will presumably be in big league camp whenever it’s up and running.
Godley, 31, was a regular on the D-backs’ staff from 2015-19, peaking with a 155 innings of 3.37 ERA ball during the 2017 season. From 2017-18, he was a consistent member of the Arizona rotation, compiling 333 1/3 innings of 4.10 ERA ball with a 24.7% strikeout rate, a 9.4% walk rate and a 51.6% grounder rate. He averaged just shy of six frames per outing in that time and looked to have more or less laid claim to a spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation.
A disastrous 2019 season, however, saw Godley designated for assignment late in the year. After posting an ERA north of 6.00 in 76 fames with Arizona, Godley landed in Toronto and had a nice run out of the bullpen to close out the season. He’s since had brief stints with the Red Sox and Brewers, though his time in Boston was derailed by a flexor strain. He appeared in just two games with Milwaukee last season, allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Godley has a 4.92 ERA in 568 2/3 innings, though fielding-independent metrics are generally a bit more bullish (4.29 SIERA, 4.34 FIP). He also carries a career 3.85 ERA in 159 innings of Triple-A ball.
The Reds’ current rotation doesn’t offer a lot of opportunity beyond a potential shot at the fifth spot — not with Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Vladimir Gutierrez all staking claim to starting jobs. However, Cincinnati is widely expected to listen to trade offers on each of Gray, Castillo and Mahle after GM Nick Krall spoke of a need to “align our payroll to our resources” early in the offseason. The Reds reportedly engaged in trade talks surrounding all three prior to the lockout (although it seems quite unlikely that the entire trio would be moved).
Even if a spot or two does open up in the Cincinnati rotation, Godley would face plenty of competition. Lefty Reiver Sanmartin had a big year in Double-A/Triple-A and fared well in his MLB debut late in 2021. Right-hander Riley O’Brien had a decent showing in Triple-A last year himself and is already on the 40-man roster. Top prospects Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo are expected to have a chance at making their big league debuts this coming year as well, and the Reds have invited Ben Lively, Connor Overton and Brandon Bailey to Spring Training as well (although Bailey is still recovering from last February’s Tommy John surgery).