Tyler Gilbert took the mound in a big league game for the first time in his career on August 14, 2021, and he did so for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the San Diego Padres. 102 pitches later, he’d thrown a no-hitter, and he wound up firing 40.0 IP of 3.15 ERA (135 ERA+) ball for the Snakes down the stretch run of said season.
He’d previously been a Rule 5 Draft selection out of the Philadelphia Phillies organization during the minor league phase of said draft less than a year before as he prepared to enter his age-27 season - not exactly a launching point to stardom for most players. So, it perhaps should have come as little surprise that Gilbert has yet to replicate that early brilliance in his big league career since - he’s the owner of a 5.23 ERA (80 ERA+) in 51.2 IP split between starting and relieving in the two seasons since his no-no, and he was outrighted off Arizona’s roster at the end of the 2023 season as they looked to free up 40-man roster spots for other players.
Still, there’s enough in that left arm of his that’s intriguing, as he leans on a five-pitch mix of a four-seamer, cutter, sinker, change, and curve to keep his hitters off-keel despite his best velocity season seeing him top out at 92.6 mph with his heater. At age 30, there should still be enough gas in the tank to maybe reinvent himself even further, and that’s what the Cincinnati Reds are now officially banking on.
Gilbert was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training on Wednesday, the team announced. And as depth signings go, there are few with fewer red flags.
The #Reds today signed LHP Tyler Gilbert to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League camp.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 17, 2024
In other news, both Baseball Prospectus (Top 101) and Baseball America released their updated Top 100 prospect lists this week, and both of them opted to sleep incredibly hard on Edwin Arroyo. While the switch-hitting future superstar was left of their lists entirely, the Reds were well represented with the likes of Noelvi Marte, Rhett Lowder, and Connor Phillips getting dap.
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon put together a brief look at how the Reds infield logjam could line up, breaking it down by a couple different 2023 metrics. The elephant in the room is that, if everyone’s healthy, they just end up optioning one (or two) of Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, or Elly De La Cruz back to AAA to start the year. Yore going to get Jonathan India batting leadoff and playing 2B on Opening Day, and yore going to like it.
Finally, the Reds landed some cold, hard cash from the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitcher Daniel Duarte yesterday. Duarte was canned from the 40-man roster when the Reds made the signing of Brent Suter official, so if you want to think about it like this, you can put whatever nebulous cash amount they got for Duarte up on the opposite side of the ledger from Suter’s contract to make their financials that much more flexible going forward.