8:16pm: As expected, Moran has decided to accept the outright assignment, the club announced (via Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer).
5:58pm: The Reds announced that corner infielder Colin Moran has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Louisville. He has the right to refuse a minor league assignment as a player with between four and five years of big league service time, but doing so would require forfeiting what remains of his $1MM guaranteed salary. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Athletic tweets that Moran has not yet informed the Reds of his decision.
Cincinnati hadn’t previously announced that Moran had been designated for assignment. The outright drops the club’s 40-man roster tally down to 39, although they’ll need a spot for reliever Jeff Hoffman whenever he’s ready to return from the COVID-19 injured list.
The Reds signed Moran to a one-year deal during Spring Training. He’d been cut loose by the division-rival Pirates after a four-year run in Pittsburgh. He typically offered league average production at the dish during his time in the Steel City, combining for a .269/.331/.419 line. After struggling defensively at the hot corner, however, he was increasingly limited to first base time of late. His solid but unspectacular offense at a bat-first position wasn’t enough for the Bucs to keep him around through his arbitration seasons.
While Cincinnati hoped they’d add a productive left-handed bat to their bench, Moran hasn’t performed especially well in 2022. He’s posted a .210/.299/.360 line with four home runs through 117 plate appearances during his major league action. That’s led to a pair of optional assignments to Louisville, where he’s punched out in 16 of his 52 trips against upper minors pitching. Those struggles made it such that no other team wanted to assume the remaining guarantees on his contract.
If Moran stays with the Bats on outright assignment, he’ll try to play his way back onto the 40-man roster before the end of the season. He’d technically remain controllable via arbitration through 2023 in that instance, but the 29-year-old would need an excellent second half to convince the club to tender him a contract. Moran would have another opportunity to qualify for minor league free agency at the end of the season if he’s not selected to the major league roster by then.