The Reds announced a series of roster moves today, selecting the contract of right-hander Daniel Duarte. To open a spot on the active roster, fellow righty Ricky Karcher was optioned to Triple-A. Righty Joel Kuhnel was designated for assignment in a corresponding 40-man move.
Duarte, 26, first got added to the Cincinnati roster going into 2022 but he spent most of the season on the injured list due to elbow problems. He was non-tendered, re-signed to a minor league deal and has been pitching in Triple-A so far this year. He has a 3.49 ERA in 28 1/3 innings, striking out 25.4% of opponents while walking 11.1% and getting grounders at a 51.4% clip.
The Reds played a 10-inning game yesterday, using six pitchers in the process. Though they ultimately emerged victorious, the bullpen was a bit taxed so Duarte will come in and give the club a fresh arm. He still has a couple of options and just one year of major league service time, so he could potentially be retained as a cheap and optionable depth piece for the foreseeable future if he continues to hang onto his 40-man roster spot.
The casualty of bringing Duarte up to the majors is Kuhnel. The 28-year-old has bounced on and off the Reds’ roster in recent seasons, logging 74 innings of sporadic action dating back to 2019. He has a 6.20 career ERA, 20.8% strikeout rate, 6.4% walk rate and 51.9% ground ball rate. There’s likely been a bit of bad luck in there as his 62.8% strand rate is well below average, leading to a 4.28 FIP and 3.55 SIERA. But in 24 Triple-A innings this year, he has a 7.13 ERA while striking out just 13.3% of opponents.
The Reds will now have a week to trade Kuhnel or pass him through waivers. In the event he clears waivers, he would have the right to elect free agency by virtue of having a previous career outright. If any club were to acquire Kuhnel, he has a couple of options and just over a year of service time.