The Reds announced they’ve designated right-hander Robert Dugger, who had been on the 15-day injured list, for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster goes to catcher Aramis Garcia, who was activated from the 60-day injured list. To clear a spot on the active roster, Cincinnati placed outfielder TJ Friedl on the 10-day IL due to a right hamstring strain.
Dugger has bounced on and off the roster a few times this season. He began the year in the Rays organization on a minor league deal. Promoted for a May spot start, he was designated for assignment thereafter and claimed off waivers by the Reds. The Reds shuttled him between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville for the next few months depending on their need for a depth arm capable of throwing multiple innings. Dugger is out of minor league option years, meaning Cincinnati had to DFA him each time they wanted to take him off the big league roster.
In each instance, the 27-year-old went unclaimed on waivers. He’s made three big league appearances with Cincinnati, allowing eight runs in 10 2/3 cumulative frames. Dugger has started seven of 14 outings with the Bats, pitching to a 4.65 ERA with an 18.1% strikeout percentage and a lofty 12.1% walk rate. That includes four rehab outings, as he’s worked his way back from a seemingly minor bout of shoulder soreness.
The Reds will place Dugger on waivers again in the coming days. Assuming he goes unclaimed, he’d have the right to refuse an outright assignment and test free agency. While he’s accepted each previous assignment to Louisville, he’s headed for minor league free agency at the end of the year if not on a 40-man roster. He’ll presumably find some non-roster invitations to Spring Training on the open market.
Garcia signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati last offseason. He earned the backup job behind Tyler Stephenson out of camp and was selected onto the big league roster. He’s only gotten into 46 games, though, with a sprained left middle finger costing him virtually all of the season’s second half. He’ll be active for the final two games but could find himself on the roster bubble this winter. Garcia has hit just .217/.252/.264 across 113 plate appearances during his first year in Cincinnati. He’ll be eligible for arbitration for the first time during the offseason but is a clear non-tender candidate.