As a member of the 2018 Virginia Cavaliers baseball team, lefty Bennett Sousa tied for the team’s lead in saves as their oft-used closer. His six that season matched that of another talented lefty on the squad, a guy named Andrew Abbott whose name just might sound familiar around these parts.
Sousa was added to the same pitching staff as Abbott again on Wednesday, as the Cincinnati Reds claimed the former off waivers after he’d been designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox earlier in the week. A roster spot was freed for him by the Reds moving Vladimir Gutierrez - who is recovering from Tommy John surgery - to the 60-day IL.
The Reds announced the move on Twitter.
The Reds today claimed LHP Bennett Sousa off waivers from the White Sox and placed RHP Vladimir Gutierrez on the 60-day injured list (July 20 right elbow surgery). pic.twitter.com/WNfmbrc0eG— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 22, 2023
Sousa, who’ll turn 28 in April, joins the mix for a needed second lefty in the Reds bullpen alongside Reiver Sanmartin, who is hardly a proven quantity himself. Also in that mix are the recently added Daniel Norris and Alex Young, neither of whom have a roster spot just yet like Sousa.
In Sousa, the Reds land a guy who got largely shelled in his big league debut in 2022, a 20.1 IP sample in which he allowed 19 ER. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that’s not good, but at least his work in the upper minors (3.96 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, 4.00 K/BB) suggests there’s something there to work with. His average fastball velocity of 94.1 mph last season says so, too - he worked exclusively with that heater and a slider he threw over 57% of the time.
Yet another opportunity for pitching guru Derek Johnson to unearth a diamond, though anything resembling reasonable stability in a bullpen that’s been patched together for several years running would be palatable.