Reds right-hander Art Warren finished the 2022 season on the injured list due to a elbow surgery, though no timetable for his recovery was given at that time. Manager David Bell told reporters, including Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, that though Warren’s UCL was being repaired, it was not a full replacement. That seemingly left some room for optimism that Warren wouldn’t require a full year or more, as he would if he underwent Tommy John surgery. However, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer now reports that Warren is indeed expected to miss the entire 2023 campaign.
Warren, 30 in March, was acquired by the Reds prior to the 2021 campaign. His first year in Cincy was fairly successful, as he registered a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings, which included a 41.5% strikeout rate, 9.8% walk rate and 37.6% ground ball rate. Though he was surely hoping to build on that here in 2022, he largely dealt with injuries and underperformance. He landed on the IL in July due to a right flexor pronator strain and then again in September due to the aforementioned surgery. When on the hill, he threw 36 innings but with his ERA jumping up to 6.50 and his walk rate to 13.3%.
Those results might have been caused by his injury issues but were disappointing nonetheless. On top of that, he will now be looking at losing the entirety of his age-30 season while recovering from surgery. He has yet to reach arbitration and won’t cost much to keep around until healthy, but there’s no injured list between the end of the World Series and the start of Spring Training. If Warren can hold onto his 40-man roster spot through the winter, he could be placed on the 60-day IL for all of next year, though it’s also possible he becomes a casualty of a roster squeeze at some point. The club doesn’t seem to have designs on competing in 2023, with general manager Nick Krall recently telling Nightengale that “We’re going to come into (2023) in a similar place that we are right now.” Whether Warren sticks in their plans will likely depend on how much they expect him to contribute in 2024 and beyond.
In terms of other Cincinnati relievers, Buck Farmer is hoping to stick with the team. “I hope to be here next year,” he tells Nightengale. “I think (the coaching staff) as a group put me in the spot to where I’ve gotten this year, so it’s been a big help being here.” Signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, Farmer ended up tossing 47 innings with a 3.83 ERA, a big improvement over the 6.37 he had with the Tigers in 2021. He also posted a career-high 27.1% strikeout rate, though also issued free passes to 12.6% of batters faced.
Farmer, 32 in February, is arbitration eligible and projected for a salary of $1.4MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. That’s not a huge sum by MLB standards, with next year’s minimum going up to $720K. Still, the club will have to decide if they think he can replicate or improve that performance going forward.