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Cincinnati Reds claim Michael Feliz from Pirates, designate Sal Romano for assignment

The world of the Reds bullpen turns.

MLB: MAY 08 Reds at Indians Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s never a fun time to see a team cut ties with a player who’s been in the organization from day one, but that just might be what happened today with Sal Romano and the Cincinnati Reds. Romano, first plucked by the Reds in the 23rd round of the 2011 MLB Draft, has pitched at the big league level for the Reds in each season since 2017, but his struggles so far in early action this season rendered his roster spot in a perilous position if the Reds saw another option out there on the market.

Apparently, the Reds saw that today, claiming RHP Michael Feliz off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and for the second time in his career, Romano got booted off the 40-man roster to make room. The Reds announced the move earlier today.

In Feliz, the Reds are getting a 27 year old righty who is out of options, aspects that make him quite similar to Romano. The burly 6’4” reliever relies mostly on a fastball/slider combo, his fastball sitting in the mid to low 90s. Unlike Romano, though, Feliz has managed to continue to miss bats of late, his 9.39 K/9 this year (and 11.91 career K/9) dwarfing those of his peer (5.2 this year, 6.8 in his career).

Keeping walks and runs off the board, however, have long been a problem for Feliz, who has been a guy throughout his career whose stuff has always looked much, much better than his stats. Of course, that’s something that has been the defining aspect of how these Reds have operated transactionally in the last year, eyeing talent and upside over polish as they attempt to roll out reclamation projects on their staff at cut-rates, and Feliz will certainly at least give them that.

Also of note is the addition of Art Warren to the active roster from the Taxi Squad, presumably to be with the club in Denver today until Feliz joins the team. It’s also worth noting that there’s a chance Romano goes unclaimed on waivers and stays within the Reds organization, something he did a year ago when DFA’d, though it’s worth wondering if he might not look for another organization after now twice hitting waivers via the Reds.