The Reds announced that they’ve claimed right-hander Jake Buchanan off waivers from the Cubs and designated minor league outfielder Peter O’Brien for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Buchanan, it seems, will be added to the Major League roster, as Cincinnati also announced that left-hander Amir Garrett has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right hip.
The 27-year-old Buchanan has seen time in the Majors each year from 2014-16, tossing a combined 50 1/3 innings of 3.75 ERA ball for the Astros and the Cubs. In that time, he’s averaged just 5.2 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 with a tepid 88.7 mph average on his sinker, though he’s also generated grounders at an excellent 58.5 percent clip.
The Astros shifted Buchanan away from the rotation in 2015, but the Cubs have plugged him back into a starting role in the past two seasons. This year, he’s made eight starts (41 2/3 innings) for Triple-A Iowa and posted a 4.75 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.
O’Brien, meanwhile has now been designated for assignment by his third organization of the past six months. The new-look Diamondbacks front office cut him loose back in December and traded him to the Royals in exchange for minor league righty Sam Lewis. However, O’Brien’s strong Spring Training was followed by a woeful .162/.235/.276 batting line in his first 27 games with Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate, prompting a second DFA and a waiver claim from the Reds. Through five games with Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate, O’Brien hit .200/.333/.450.
The 26-year-old O’Brien has long intrigued fans with his excellent power numbers in Triple-A, but Major League teams appear to be persistently wary of his lack of defensive value and penchant for racking up strikeouts at an alarming rate. Originally a catcher in the Yankees’ organization, the D-backs moved O’Brien to the outfield due to defensive deficiencies behind the plate. His glovework there and at first base both remain a work in progress. He’s made some level of progress in terms of plate discipline this year, as his 26.6 percent strikeout rate is down from last year’s mark of 33.8 percent in Triple-A Reno. Still, a near-27 percent clip is rather lofty for a 26-year-old in Triple-A with questionable defensive value.
As for Garrett, the 25-year-old rookie southpaw has been torched for a 13 runs on a dozen hits and five walks with seven strikeouts in nine innings since his most recent recall from Triple-A. Of those 12 hits against him, six have cleared the fence for home runs. That’s a far cry from the form Garrett showed early in the year, logging five quality starts in his first six appearances and pitching to a 4.25 ERA.