The non-tender of catcher Curt Casali earlier this offseason was a pretty clear indication that the Tyler Stephenson Era was set to begin behind the plate for the Cincinnati Reds. Tucker Barnhart is still firmly in the mix for regular time, of course, but losing Casali not only signaled a turning of the page, it also depleted depth at a pretty vital spot on the roster.
The Reds made a move to address that, however, as they claimed Deivy Grullon off waivers from the Boston Red Sox. The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans - newly minted as the BBWAA President for 2021 (!) - revealed the move on Twitter.
Reds claimed C Deivy Grullón off of waivers from the Red Sox. The 40-man roster is at 33.— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) December 23, 2020
A quick glance at Grullon shows he’s 2 for 12 in his career at the big league level, split between the Sox and a stint with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was previously a waiver claim of the Sox back in September of this year after beginning his pro career with the Phillies as a 17 year old back in 2013.
The native of the Dominican Republic is listed at 5-11 and 240 lbs, and there is certainly ample pop in that build. He swatted 12 homers in a 2017 season spent split between the Sally League and Eastern League before erupting for 21 dingers in a 2018 campaign spent exclusively at AA Reading in the EL. He matched that 21 dinger total in 2019, this time with AAA Lehigh Valley, hitting .283 with an .851 OPS there in the process.
Prior to the 2019 season, the FanGraphs prospect crew had this to say about him as he was mentioned in the Other Prospects of Note breakdown of Philly’s system:
Grullon has elite arm strength and hit 21 homers at Double-A last year. The power output was likely caricatured by Reading’s ballpark and Grullon is a slow-twitch, immobile defender, and a 20 runner with below average bat speed and is probably more of a third/inventory catcher than a true backup despite the hose and pull pop.
Still just 24 years old, Grullon has a pair of options remaining, so he’s pretty much a protoypical depth/project waiver claim, as he’ll likely be stashed in AAA Louisville to begin the 2021 season.