The Reds announced they’ve assigned catcher Austin Wynns outright to Triple-A Louisville after he cleared waivers. Cincinnati designated him for assignment on Tuesday as the corresponding move to sign Frankie Montas. The Reds also announced they received cash considerations from the Giants to complete the December 19 trade that sent outfielder TJ Hopkins to San Francisco.
Trading Hopkins was coincidentally necessitated by the signing of Wynns to a free agent deal. The Reds inked the 33-year-old backstop to a one-year pact. He held his spot on the 40-man roster for roughly three weeks. Tuesday’s DFA again leaves Cincinnati with Tyler Stephenson and Luke Maile as the only catchers on the 40-man.
While it’s not the outcome Wynns had wanted, it’s likely one he knew was a possibility. He signed a split contract that would pay him at a $900K rate for time spent in the majors and $300K for whatever work he logs in Triple-A. Wynns is out of minor league options, so the only way he’d have gotten to Triple-A is if Cincinnati ran him through outright waivers at some point.
With over three years of big league service time, Wynns technically has the right to reject the assignment and return to the free agent market. Doing so would require forfeiting the $300K sum he locked in on the split deal, however. He’ll likely accept the assignment and report to big league Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. If he doesn’t land an Opening Day spot, he can start the year in Louisville while earning a decent salary for a minor league player.
Wynns stands as the top non-roster option if the Reds decide to go back to a three-catcher group — as they did last season with Stephenson, Maile and Curt Casali. Wynns is coming off a poor offensive showing in which he hit .208/.268/.277 over 51 games between the Giants, Dodgers and Rockies. He has never been much of a threat at the plate, but he has parts of five seasons of big league experience and rated as a solid defender last season. He thwarted an excellent 30.8% of stolen base attempts with career-best marks as a pitch framer.