Rays Acquire Cody Reed To Help Ailing Bullpen

The Rays have sent nine players to the injured list this year, and three of them have been moved to the 45-day IL with season-ending injuries.

With a significant need for healthy arms in an injury-racked bullpen, the Rays acquired Reds lefthander Cody Reed on Saturday in exchange for minor league righthander Riley O’Brien. 

Reed was designated for assignment Aug. 24 when the Reds activated Robert Stephenson from the injured list. O’Brien is the Rays No. 24 prospect. 



Cody Reed, LHP
Age: 27

The Reds acquired Reed from the Royals in the 2015 trade that sent Johnny Cueto to Kansas City. Reed made his big league debut the next season, but never managed to find a consistent role in the Cincinnati rotation and a move to the bullpen failed to unlock his fastball/slider combination. Reed’s slider is what gives him a chance to be a solid reclamation project for the Rays. It’s a hard 88-91 mph pitch that sacrifices movement for velocity, but it has enough bite to gets swings and misses. His mid-90s fastball is more of an issue. It catches the heart of the plate more often than is ideal and his control remains below-average. Reed has a very long arm action in the back, which has made it hard for him to consistently repeat. He throws his slider and fastball from slightly different release points as well, allowing a discerning hitter to pick up the difference. Reed is out of options but under team control for a while. He will not be arbitration eligible until 2022.



Riley O’Brien, RHP
Age: 25

The Rays paid a higher price than normal for a player who was designated for assignment. O’Brien ranked 24th on the Rays midseason Top 30. Drafted in the eighth round out of NAIA College of Idaho in 2017, O’Brien is a starter now and has the fastball-slider combination to be at least a useful reliever. O’Brien’s fastball sat 91-95 mph as a starter and touched 97 in his last significant game action prior to the pandemic. His fastball could tick up further as a reliever. O’Brien’s slider is not consistent yet but it flashes plus. His control and his changeup will need to improve if he’s going to remain a starter going forward. O’Brien will Rule 5 eligible this winter, so the Reds will need to add him to their 40-man roster to protect him after the season. 

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