The Reds have signed catcher Ryan Lavarnway to a one-year, Major League contract, as per a team announcement (Twitter link). Lavarnway’s signing was one of a flurry of moves from Cincinnati, as the club also designated right-hander Jesus Reyes for assignment and placed righty David Hernandez and catchers Curt Casali and Kyle Farmer on the injured list. Taking their places on the roster are Lavarnway, and Triple-A callups Lucas Sims and Josh VanMeter.
Farmer is headed to the seven-day version of the IL due to a concussion, while Casali is on the 10-day IL (retroactive to Tuesday) due to a right knee sprain. With starting catcher Tucker Barnhart also injured, the Reds were left in sudden need for help behind the plate, opening the door for Lavarnway to land a guaranteed deal almost immediately after he was released from his minors contract with the Yankees.
Lavarnway has recorded some big league playing time in each of the last two seasons, appearing in six games each with the A’s in 2017 and Pirates in 2018. Best known as a former top prospect in the Red Sox system, the 31-year-old Lavarnway has a .208/.268/.326 slash line over 426 career plate appearances in the majors. He’ll join Juan Graterol as the Reds’ makeshift catching duo until some reinforcements come off the injured list.
Reyes made his MLB debut in 2018, posting a 3.18 ERA over 5 2/3 relief innings. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014, the 26-year-old has a 3.65 ERA, 7.2 K/9, and 1.88 K/BB rate over 406 2/3 career innings in the minors, though Reyes has struggled badly at Triple-A this season.