Reds bring in Newman, trade Kyle Farmer to Twins

November 19th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- At Friday’s deadline to offer 2023 contracts to players under club control, the Reds made a pair of trades that affected their situation at shortstop.

The first deal sent infielder Kyle Farmer to the Twins for Minor League right-handed pitcher Casey Legumina, who was ranked as Minnesota’s No. 27 prospect by MLB Pipeline at the time of the trade. In a separate move, right-handed reliever Dauri Moreta was sent to the Pirates for middle infielder Kevin Newman.

“Similar players, just doing it a little bit differently. Kyle was transitioning more to the corner. Newman stayed more in the middle, a little bit more rangy,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said. “Kyle is a little bit more offensive. We’re just looking for a different fit, and Newman just kind of fit better.”

A 29-year-old veteran of five big league seasons, all with Pittsburgh, Newman batted .274/.316/.372 with two home runs and 24 RBIs in 78 games last season. He missed time with a left groin strain and then lost reps to younger players on the depth chart.

After hitting 12 homers and posting an .800 OPS over 130 games in 2019, Newman has a .605 OPS in 270 games since the start of ‘20. He made $1.95 million in ‘22, and he is second-year arbitration-eligible after being tendered a contract by the Pirates. The Reds have looked at trading for him in the past.

“Good contact hitter that uses the whole field and has a feel to hit,” Krall said. “We think he’s solid and he gives you a quality at-bat in your lineup.”

Over five big league stints this season with the Reds, Moreta was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 35 appearances.

Legumina, 25, was 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA in 33 games (16 starts) last season combined across High-A and Double-A. Minnesota added him to its 40-man roster on Tuesday before the trade.

“He started, went to the bullpen in the middle of the year, stuff ticked up, and he has a chance to be a quality big league reliever,” Krall said.

Farmer, 32, was arbitration-eligible for the second time and was due for a raise after he made $3.155 million in 2022. The Reds have been keeping a more austere payroll since entering a rebuilding mode the previous offseason.

“It gives us a little bit more financial flexibility,” Krall said of moving Farmer. “Kyle is a tremendous player, a tremendous guy. He really embedded himself into Cincinnati. Everybody really likes Kyle. We all do. It was a tough conversation to have whenever I called him. I had conversations with his agent. We were talking about different fits and how he fits here vs. some other places. I think, for us, it just made some sense.”

A clubhouse leader, Farmer played every infield position, as well as left field and catcher, during his tenure with the Reds after being acquired from the Dodgers in the December 2018 trade that also brought in Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and Matt Kemp.

Primarily the starting shortstop the past two seasons, Farmer batted .255/.315/.386 with 14 home runs, 25 doubles and 78 RBIs in a team-high 145 games in 2022. He was moved to third base the final two months of the season to accommodate the callup of young shortstop Jose Barrero.

Farmer’s departure could enable Cincinnati to have either Newman or Barrero at shortstop. Barrero would have to earn the spot if he can show improvement following a disastrous year at the plate. The club also has Minor League depth with prospects Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain getting closer.

“People are going to have to win jobs. I think it’s going to be a wide-open competition,” Krall said.

Spencer Steer, the No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline, may be the leading candidate to play third base.

In other transactions on Friday, the Reds avoided arbitration with right-handed reliever Buck Farmer by agreeing to a one-year, $1.725 million contract. In 44 games last season, he posted a 3.83 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP while pitching 47 innings. He was designated for assignment in May, but he worked his way back to the club on July 9 and posted a 2.83 ERA over his final 34 games.

The arbitration-eligible players who were offered contracts by the Reds were outfielder Nick Senzel and right-handed pitchers Luis Cessa, Lucas Sims, Tejay Antone and Justin Dunn.

Outfielder Allan Cerda and right-handed reliever Daniel Duarte were not tendered contracts. Both remained in the organization, however, by agreeing to Minor League contracts.