The Reds announced a series of transactions this afternoon. Robert Dugger, recently claimed off waivers from the Rays, has reported to the team and joined the active roster. Reliever Buck Farmer has been designated for assignment to open space. Cincinnati also activated outfielder Tyler Naquin from the COVID-19 injured list and returned “substitute player” Ronnie Dawson to Triple-A Louisville.
Cincinnati signed Farmer to a minor league deal over the offseason, and he made the Opening Day roster. The veteran righty has worked 12 innings over ten appearances, allowing ten runs (nine earned) on 15 hits and seven walks. Farmer has struck out a solid 17 batters with a personal-best 13.2% swinging strike rate, but the Reds have elected to go in a different direction based on the poor results.
Before this season, the 31-year-old Farmer had spent his entire career with the Tigers. He often soaked up multiple innings out of the bullpen and posted a sub-4.00 ERA in both seasons from 2019-20, but his final year in Detroit was disappointing. Farmer posted a 6.37 ERA in 35 1/3 innings last year, walking 12.3% of opponents in the process.
The Reds have a week to trade Farmer or place him on waivers. The latter seems likelier given his rough start to the season. He has more than five years of MLB service, meaning he can refuse an outright assignment in favor of free agency while still collecting his $850K salary. In any event, it seems Farmer’s time in the Cincinnati organization is coming to a close.
Dawson’s return to Louisville removes him from the 40-man roster after one appearance. He was selected as a designated COVID replacement when Naquin hit the injured list (alongside Nick Senzel) on Wednesday. Now that Naquin has been cleared to return, Dawson heads back to the minors. Albert Almora Jr. was selected as a substitute at the same time and remains on the MLB roster with Senzel still out of action.