The Reds announced that they have claimed right-hander Franklin German off waivers from the White Sox and optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. The Sox had designated him for assignment last week. The Reds already had a vacancy on their 40-man roster after designating Matt Reynolds for assignment on the weekend and won’t need to make a corresponding move for German.
German, 25, has been through quite a few organizations in recent years. Originally drafted by the Yankees, he went to the Red Sox as part of the January 2021 trade that also sent Adam Ottavino to Boston. He was largely a starting pitcher in the lower levels of the minors but posted fairly inconsistent results.
The Red Sox moved him to the bullpen full-time in 2022, a move that seemed to agree with the righty. Splitting his time between Double-A and Triple-A last year, he posted a 2.72 ERA in 49 2/3 innings, striking out 32.5% of opponents against a 9.6% walk rate. Boston called him up in mid-September and put him into five games down the stretch, though he was lit up for an ERA of 18.00 in that brief audition.
He was designated for assignment in January and flipped to the Pale Hose. He was sent to Triple-A Charlotte to begin this year but has struggled, posting an ERA of 7.15 through 11 1/3 innings. His 26.7% strikeout rate is strong but his 15% walk rate is quite problematic. His .500 batting average on balls in play and 85.5% strand rate should lead to some positive regression, but the control will obviously need to be improved.
Despite some recent wobbles, there’s sense in the Reds using their open roster spot to take a flier on him. He had some strong results last year and averaged 98.1 mph on his fastball in the majors while also throwing a slider and a changeup. He has a full slate of options and can be kept in the minors as depth for years to come, as long as he holds onto his 40-man spot, as the Reds see if they can help him harness his powerful arsenal.