Yep, I know that Harrison Bader was placed on waivers by the New York Yankees, the team for whom he most recently plied his trade. Old habits die hard around these parts, however, and when a former St. Louis Cardinals cog ends up coming to the Cincinnati Reds, well, it’s something that we’re contractually obligated to point out.
Bader joined Hunter Renfroe as newly minted Cincinnati Reds today, just two days after their former clubs - the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels, respectively - unleashed a fleet of players onto waivers in a last-ditch effort to cut payroll and get under luxury tax penalties. ESPN’s Jeff Passan made note of the moves, as did many others, adding that it was the Cleveland Guardians who seemingly walked away with all the new pitching help.
Big day for Ohio in the waiver world.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 31, 2023
Cleveland claimed right-handed starter Lucas Giolito, left-handed reliever Matt Moore and right-handed reliever Reynaldo Lopez.
Cincinnati claimed outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Harrison Bader.
Bader and Renfroe both bring experience and, at times, elite outfield defense to go along with their lefty-smashing ways. It’s worth pointing out, though, that neither has been at their best so far in 2023 - Bader with just a 75 OPS+ after entering the year with a career 97 OPS+, Renfroe with a 97 OPS+ after entering the year with a career 111 OPS+.
It likely means upgrades over the likes of TJ Hopkins and Nick Senzel, or perhaps Stu Fairchild. Those have been their primary lefty-hitting options of late with Jonathan India and Matt McLain now out of the picture and Spencer Steer backfilling on the infield once again. And, to the credit of the Reds, it means the club is dropping a couple of million bucks to facilitate these moves, as they’ll be on the hook for the prorated portion of each’s salary for the final month of the campaign.
Bader is making $5.2 million on the whole for 2023, while Renfroe is making $11.9 million. Both are slated to reach free agency at season’s end, of course, which is why the Yankees and Angels were willing to give them away at this time of the year.
We’ve not yet seen the roster moves the Reds will juggle to make these moves possible, but we’ll see them at some point prior to the series opener against the Chicago Cubs tomorrow.
*** UPDATE ***
It appears that both Alejo Lopez and Mike Siani have been DFA’d to free up room on the 40-man roster for Renfroe and Bader. Siani, you’ll recall, was given an overslot $2 million signing bonus as a 4th round pick out of high school to get him to forego his commitment to UVA, and he still had multiple options remaining. Huh.