After a long day of light rumors and even less news, the Cincinnati Reds made a move of some note, sending reliever Tony Cingrani to just minutes before the trade deadline. The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan was first on the news that Cingrani had been traded, with later confirmation coming from FOX’s Ken Rosenthal that the lefty was headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For Cingrani and the Reds, it’s a somewhat bittersweet separation after what began as a lightning bolt of a career beginning. As a starter back in 2013, Cingrani held the single best K/9 of any National League pitcher who threw at least 100 innings that season, ranking 2nd in all of baseball in that category behind only Yu Darvish. However, high pitch counts, the inability to throw anything other than a fastball, and persistent shoulder injuries derailed his early success, and by 2015 his days as a starter were completely over.
Unfortunately, that didn’t exactly solve his issues, as he battled an oblique injury and posted just a 4.48 ERA, 97 ERA+, and 1.41 WHIP between 2016-2017, with an unsightly 7.01 FIP so far in the 2017 season. That didn’t seem to deter the Dodgers, however, who are willing to take Cingrani and the remainder of his ~$1.8 million salary for this year as a flier. In honesty, that salary - and Cingrani heading into another arbitration year that would warrant a raise - made the lefty a potential non-tender candidate for 2018, which certainly played a role in the Reds’ decision to move him at this time for what they could get.
In return, the Reds will receive OF Scott Van Slyke and minor league catcher Hendrik Clementina, a 20 year old Curacao native who is currently knocking the snot out of the ball in Pioneer League play. Van Slyke, now 31 years old, has seen his big league production plummet since a 2014 season in which he posted a 157 OPS+ in 246 PAs, but comes with a reputation as a lefty-masher and team control through the 2019 season. In other words, while he’s spent much of 2017 struggling at the AAA level, if he can show anything similar to his hitting ways of yore, he’s got the chance to be a decent bench bat and platoon option down the road. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was first to confirm the return.