The #Reds have claimed off waivers RHP-Starter Brett Marshall (no. 41) and designated for assignment INF Henry Rodriguez.— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) February 12, 2014
Marshall is a product of the New York Yankees farm system, actually, as he was drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 draft out of high school in Texas. He was claimed by the Cubs in December and spent just under two months with them before being picked up by the Reds today. Marshall spent the majority of his 2013 in AAA, where he sported a 1.52 WHIP, 1.76 K/BB, and 5.13 ERA in 138.2 innings. He got a cup of coffee in the majors with the Yankees, too, tossing 12 innings out of the bullpen to similar results. In those limited innings, he threw almost exclusively a mix of fastball/slider/change, with his fastball averaging 88.9 mph.
Given the lack of middle-infield prospects in the Reds system (and the relative struggles of those on the big-league roster capable of manning those positions), it seems odd that Hank Rod would have been DFA'd so easily. Perhaps the Reds hope that his recent poor performance (.654 OPS in Louisville in 2013) will allow him to slide through waivers unclaimed so they can simply outright him off the 40 man roster and keep him in the system; otherwise, this just doesn't seem to make much sense given the pitching depth in the upper minors.
Here's my postulation: The Reds need a 40-man spot for Ramon Santiago (woo hoo!), and they saw a cheap opportunity to take a flier on a pitcher someone in the front office has a prospect crush on. They're hoping they can sneak Hank Rod off the 40-man and back to the minors, and they're willing to give Marshall a shot, but ultimately they expect to DFA him to make room for Santiago towards the end of Spring Training.
Why am I delving this deep into analysis of a roster move involving a AAAA pitcher in his third organization in two months and a 5'8" (generous) AAAA hitter who has slugged .333 and .335 in two seasons in Louisville? Because this, friends, is the biggest move the Reds have made in 2014.
Please have strong wrists, Billy Hamilton.