The Reds have released right-hander Luis Cessa following last week’s DFA, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (Twitter link). The 31-year-old righty will now be free to sign with any club.
Cessa pitched 26 innings with the Reds this season and was tagged for 26 earned runs on the strength of 46 hits and 12 walks. He generally kept the ball in the yard — just three of those 46 knocks were home runs (1.04 HR/9) — but Cessa also only managed 11 strikeouts in his seven appearances (six starts). A .410 average on balls in play and 60.2% strand rate surely contributed to Cessa’s disastrous ERA, but he was also too hittable and didn’t miss anywhere close to even a league-average number of bats.
Cessa has spent the majority of his career working out of the bullpen, though he started 10 games for Cincinnati in 2022 and posted a 4.30 ERA — albeit with less-encouraging peripheral marks (5.02 FIP, 17.1% strikeout rate, 7.7% walk rate, 1.64 HR/9 mark). In 160 1/3 career innings out of the rotation, Cessa has a 5.44 ERA, but he’s been a solid multi-inning reliever — evidenced by a lifetime 3.81 ERA, 4.35 FIP, 19.9% strikeout rate and 8.1% walk rate out of the bullpen.
Cincinnati originally acquired Cessa alongside lefty Justin Wilson at the 2021 trade deadline, sending a player to be named later (Jason Parker) to the Yankees in that swap. Injuries have already forced the 25-year-old Parker out of the game; he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021 and reinjured his elbow the following season before calling it quits earlier this year, per Brian North of WTCI Channel 12 News. Wilson pitched just 19 2/3 innings with the Reds before his own Tommy John surgery. Cessa was the lone member of that three-player swap who remained healthy and, until this season, had given the Reds a good bit of value (3.95 ERA in 107 innings from 2021-22).
The Reds and Cessa avoided arbitration this past offseason by agreeing to a one-year, $2.65MM deal for the 2023 campaign. That was slated to be his final season of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency. Now that he’s been released, Cincinnati will be on the hook for the remainder of that sum, with a new team only owing Cessa the prorated portion of the league minimum for any time he spends on the big league roster. That amount would be subtracted from what the Reds still owe the veteran righty.