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Reds, Rockies swap Robert Stephenson, Jeff Hoffman in four-player deal

Two former top prospects get fresh starts elsewhere.

Colorado Rockies v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The Reds and Rockies swapped former top pitching prospects in a four-player deal on Wednesday, with right-hander Robert Stephenson and minor-league outfielder Jameson Hannah heading to Colorado, and right-handers Jeff Hoffman and Case Williams going to Cincinnati:

The deal presents a fresh start for Stephenson and Hoffman, two former first-round picks who were once expected to be rotation mainstays for their respective clubs. Stephenson, the No. 27 overall pick by the Reds in the 2011 draft, struggled over parts of five seasons in Cincinnati, posting a 5.15 ERA and 1.46 WHIP over 104 career appearances, all but 22 of which have been in relief. He threw for a disastrous 9.90 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, allowing eight homers over 10 innings of relief during the abbreviated 2020 season.

Hoffman, 27, was drafted ninth overall by the Blue Jays in 2014 and dealt to the Rockies in the 2015 deal that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. He posted a 6.40 ERA with a 1.62 WHIP over 68 games (38 starts) with Colorado and had a dreadful season in 2020, throwing for a 9.28 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP over 16 relief appearances.

Hannah was ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Reds’ system by MLB Pipeline. He was a second-round pick of the Athletics in 2018 and was dealt to the Reds a year later in the deal that sent Tanner Roark to Oakland. Hannah, 23, is a left-handed hitter out of Dallas Baptist who has shown minimal power and a penchant for the strikeout but also flashes decent speed and an above-average ability to draw a walk.

Williams, 18, was the Rockies’ fourth-rounder in this year’s draft. It’s likely a disappointing turn of events for the Castle Rock, Colorado native, won’t get a chance to pitch for the organization he grew up rooting for. But clearly there’s something about him that intrigues multiple teams, despite the fact that the 6-foot-3 righty wasn’t among MLB Pipeline’s top 200 draft prospects or Baseball America’s top 500 when the Rockies reached to select him earlier this summer.