The Reds signed the right-handed pitcher Pedro Payano to a minor league contract, according to the team’s official trades page. Payano was a minor league free agent, which made him eligible to sign a contract during the lockout.
Originally signed by Rangers, Payano made his affiliated debut in rookie ball aged 17 in 2012. Working primarily as a starter, he rose through the ranks of the Rangers system, reaching Double-A in 2017 at the age of 22. In 2019, he was able to make his major league debut at the age of 24, pitching in six games for Rangers, including four starts. He pitched 22 total innings in those games, with a 5.73 ERA, 16.5% strikeout rate and 14.6% walk rate.
After being designated for assignment by the Rangers, Payano signed a minor league contract with the Mets for 2020. He was not called up to the majors and the pandemic wiped out the minors that year. The Tigers gave him a minor league contract for 2021 and gave him a few runs in both Double-A and Triple-A. Double-A results were excellent, albeit in a small sample of just six starts and 29 innings. He had a 3.10 ERA, 31.9% strikeout rate and 12.4% walk rate. In 95 Triple-A innings, however, he recorded a 5.12 ERA with strikeout and walk rates of 19.1% and 12.7%.
Payano has struggled with free passes ever since he reached the upper miner levels. His 9.1% Double-A walk rate in 2018 was his only campaign below 10% in recent years. However, he is only 27 which means he still has time to refine his approach and take his game to another level. The Reds have plenty of interesting rotation options, but adding depth is always good. Rumor has it that the club were also planning to negotiate Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo Where Tyler Mahle as a means of reducing payroll, which could make the presence of depth options even more important. Payano has just 26 days of MLB service time, which means the Reds could retain his services for years to come, should he find some other gear in his performance and earn himself a spot on the roster.