The Reds have signed left-handed pitcher Tyler Gilbert to a minor league contract, the team announced. The deal comes with an invitation to major league Spring Training. The All Bases Covered client will be 30 years old in 2024.
Drafted by the Phillies in 2015, Gilbert was traded to the Dodgers ahead of the 2020 season and selected by the Diamondbacks the following winter in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. He made his debut with Arizona in 2021 and is best known for throwing a no-hitter during his first MLB start and fourth big league appearance. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to live up to that impossibly high standard throughout the rest of his career. He has shuttled back and forth between the majors and Triple-A over the past three years, while also making a couple of trips to the injured list with trouble in his pitching elbow. Overall, he tossed 91 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks, pitching to a 4.32 ERA and 4.78 SIERA in 13 starts and 15 relief appearances.
The lefty spent most of his 2023 campaign pitching out of the bullpen, working as a primary reliever for the first time since his 2019 season in the Phillies organization. While he gave up 10 runs on 21 hits in 17 1/3 big league innings, his underlying numbers were much more promising. Gilbert, one of the slowest-throwing arms in the game in 2021 and ’22, threw all his pitches with an extra 2-4 mph. Opposing batters swung and missed more often at almost all of his offerings, and he nearly doubled his strikeout rate from 2022. Consequently, his 3.32 SIERA was a vast improvement over his 5.17 figure from the previous two seasons. Moreover, while his 11 MLB appearances make for a tiny sample, he boasted a near-identical strikeout rate in 74 2/3 innings at Triple-A.
The Reds have already added plenty of bullpen arms this winter, signing Emilio Pagán and Brent Suter, re-signing Buck Farmer, and scooping up Justin Bruihl and Brooks Kriske on minor league deals. They also added Nick Martinez to the rotation, although his experience as both a starter and reliever surely increased his appeal. Still, there is no such thing as too much bullpen depth. Nor is there such thing as too much starting pitching depth, for that matter, and given the fact that the injury-prone Frankie Montas is the only starter on the team with a full, qualified season under his belt, Gilbert’s experience as a starter surely increased his appeal, too.
Gilbert has one option year remaining.