The Reds have signed right-hander Walker Lockett to a minor league contract, Bobby Nightengale Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (Twitter link). After working as a starter and a reliever during his MLB career, Lockett will be built up for rotation work for Cincy.
Lockett has a 7.67 ERA over 54 MLB innings, appearing with the Padres, Mets, and Mariners from 2018-20. Primarily a groundball pitcher who didn’t generate many whiffs in either the minors or majors, Lockett had trouble keeping the ball on the grass in the big leagues, allowing 12 home runs over his 54 frames of work.
There were signs of improvement for Lockett in 2021, however, after he signed a one-year deal with The Korea Baseball Organization’s Doosan Bears. The right-hander posted a 2.98 ERA, 20.74% strikeout rate, and only five homers allowed over 124 innings of KBO League action.
Lockett started all 21 of his games for the Bears, and he has worked primarily as a starter throughout his minor league career. It makes sense that the Reds would keep him stretched out to see what he can provide as possible rotation depth for some point this season. In what is already looking like a lost year for Cincinnati, some rotation vacancies could open up should the likes of Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle be traded before the deadline.