Wade Miley looked as good as he ever has in a Cincinnati Reds uniform on Thursday, tossing 65 pitches across 4 scoreless innings in the club’s second game of a doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers. So, it was somewhat confusing when a reliever was on the mound for the Reds to start the 5th inning, though David Bell intimated after the game that it was actually Miley’s call.
As it turns out, that might well be due to a shoulder problem, as the Reds placed Miley on the 10-day IL with a ‘shoulder strain’ today as part of a flurry of transactions. Anthony DeSclafani was activated from the paternity list as part of it, so the Reds rotation should still be relatively in order for now, but that was just the tip of the moves, as The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans relayed.
#Reds transactions: activated RHP Anthony DeSclafani from paternity list, recall RHP José De León from the alternate site, Designated OF Phillip Ervin for assignment, place RHP Wade Miley (shoulder) on 10-day, IL. Signed RHP Jay Jackson to a minor-league deal. Assigned to Prasco— C. トレント・ローズクランズ (@ctrent) August 28, 2020
Phillip Ervin, the Reds 1st round draft pick from back in 2013, was designated for assignment, in part due to being out of options and having gone just 3 for 35 with zero extra base hits this season. His roster spot will go to Jose De Leon, for now, as the righty will look to improve upon what was a brutal, quick start to his Reds career earlier this season.
Of all these transactions, Ervin is the one that stands out the most, I think. Disco in for Miley, with Tyler Mahle and Tejay Antone still around, should leave the pitching staff in decent shape, but shedding Ervin could spell the end of what’s been a frustrating, up and down stint with Cincinnati.
Despite his stumbles this season, he entered 2020 a career .262/.326/.438 (97 OPS+) batter, one with a particular proclivity for mashing LHP. That, on paper, made him a perfect fit for a platoon partner for Jesse Winker, though the latter has begun to mash LHP as well. That paired with Ervin’s struggles this season made Phil a bit more expendable, as did the return and promotion of Mark Payton to add to the OF depth.
Of course, the natural question one should ask when the Reds shed each of Nick Senzel, Travis Jankowski, and Phil Ervin over the course of two weeks is when they’ll begin to add-back to that OF depth. Perhaps swapping Phil for a pitcher today, with the doubleheader tomorrow, will eventually come with a corresponding offensive addition this weekend, either in the return of Senzel from his mysterious IL stint or perhaps the return of Aristides Aquino from his Prasco exile.
Either way, this is another day of roster shake-up this week, one on the heels of Joey Votto being benched and Jose Garcia being promoted for the first time. It’s a clear sign the Reds aren’t willing to simply wait out their early-season struggles, and sure signals they may well be willingly active between now and Monday’s trade deadline, too.