The Rays announced this evening they’ve re-signed reliever Cody Reed to a minor league contract with an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Tampa Bay had outrighted him off their 40-man roster in November, at which point he elected free agency.
Reed has to pitch his way back onto the Rays’ big league club, but he’s appeared in the majors in each of the past six seasons. Originally a Royals draftee, Reed was traded to the Reds as part of the 2015 Johnny Cueto deal. He blossomed into one of the game’s top pitching prospects during his days with Cincinnati, but he never found consistent success in their rotation.
The left-hander debuted with ten starts for the Reds in 2016, but he was hit hard to the tune of a 7.36 ERA. He bounced on and off the roster over the next couple seasons, generally performing alright with Triple-A Louisville but never carrying that over into MLB success. The Reds moved him to the bullpen full-time in 2019, but he couldn’t carve out a permanent big league role there either. Cincinnati designated him for assignment in 2020, and Tampa Bay acquired him for pitching prospect Riley O’Brien.
Reed made 12 appearances with the Rays last season, allowing five runs in 9 2/3 innings. He struck out seven batters against six walks while dealing with a velocity drop, as his average fastball fell from the 94-95 MPH range to just north of 92 MPH. That may have been attributable to poor health, as Reed was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and underwent surgery in early June. That ended his season, but it was reported at the time of his surgery that he should be a full-go for Spring Training.
All told, Reed owns a 5.22 ERA in 136 1/3 career innings at the big league level. That’s inflated by his rough numbers as a starter, as he has a 2.77 mark in 47 relief appearances. Even when isolating to his performance out of the bullpen, Reed’s strikeout and walk numbers (21.5% and 13.7%, respectively) aren’t good. Yet he’s induced ground-balls at a huge 54.7% clip and held left-handed hitters to a .237/.329/.321 line as a reliever. He could again emerge as a situational option for skipper Kevin Cash if he’s now recovered from the thoracic outlet procedure.