The Reds announced a series of roster moves Thursday, most notably selecting the contract of left-handed reliever Kyle Crockett and optioning fellow southpaw Wandy Peralta to Triple-A Louisville in his place. Cincinnati opened a spot on the 40-man roster for Crockett by releasing Triple-A catcher Tony Cruz. Additionally, the Reds placed Scott Schebler on the bereavement list and recalled outfielder Phil Ervin from Louisville.
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The decision to option Peralta was likely a disheartening one for the organization. The hard-throwing 26-year-old looked to be on the path to establishing himself as a quality big league reliever last season when he tossed 64 2/3 innings with a 3.76 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9 and a 54.2 percent ground-ball rate. Most encouragingly, Peralta showed minimal platoon splits (.287 wOBA vs. lefties, .298 vs. righties).
Unfortunately for Peralta, the 2018 campaign has been nothing short of a nightmare. He has more walks (25) than strikeouts (21) in 29 1/3 innings so far in 2018, and he’s hit a pair of batters as well. He’s allowed just one homer on the season, but his awful control in 2018 has resulted in a 6.14 ERA. Things have been particularly bad of late, as Peralta has surrendered 11 runs over his past five innings of work; he was charged with five earned runs without recording an out in his final appearance before being optioned.
Cincinnati will hope that Crockett, 26, can step into the role they’d set aside for Peralta. The 2013 Indians fourth-rounder was somewhat improbably the first player from his draft class to reach the Majors, and he did so in impressive fashion, posting a 1.80 ERA with a 28-to-8 K/BB ratio in 30 innings for Cleveland as a rookie in 2014. Since that time, however, he’s managed just a 4.84 ERA in 38 MLB innings. Crockett pitched well for Cleveland’s Triple-A club in 2017 and has a 4.00 ERA with a 23-to-5 K/BB ratio in 27 Triple-A innings this season.
Cruz, 31, hit .154/.154/.308 in 26 plate appearances this season while serving in a backup capacity for the Reds. However, the Reds picked up Curt Casali in a minor trade with the Rays, displacing Cruz as the backup to Tucker Barnhart. In 73 plate appearances with Louisville this year, Cruz has batted .188/.260/.344.