Cincinnati Reds build 2017 bench around Arismendy Alcantara and his flexibility

Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds added Arismendy Alcantara to their bench to fill the role of multi-position bench player.

The Cincinnati Reds have a history under Bryan Price of having a multi-position bench player that he could call on at anytime.  For the past few years that player has been Ivan DeJesus.  The position needed an upgrade so much that they outrighted DeJesus to Louisville.

Off-season waiver wire acquisition Arismendy Alcantara has a history of playing multiple position in his career.  In just a handful of games with the Oakland Athletics last year Alcantara played second base, shortstop, center field and right field.  He did the same thing Jose Peraza did for the Reds last season, but in a smaller sample size.

In 2014 Alcantara played for the Chicago Cubs as a rookie for half of the season.  Based on those numbers, Alcantara is a 20 home run hitter who will strikeout close to 200 times over the course of the season.  His OBP will be about .300.

Alcantara brings more to the plate than his power.  He also is a bona fide threat on the bases.  In the first half of the season at Triple-A Iowa, Alcantara stole 21 bases without getting caught.

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These offensive numbers are much better than DeJesus has done the past few years.  DeJesus is five years older than Alcantara, but only has half of the career homer runs of Alcantara.  Alcantara just has to prove that his numbers weren’t a fluke.

The Cincinnati Reds can maximize the use of Jose Peraza without being concerned about the bench.

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Prior to the acquisition of Alcantara, the Reds had no one to replace the flexibility of Peraza from the end of last season.  The Reds are planning to start Peraza every other day until they move Zack Cozart or Brandon Phillips.  For that to work they need someone to be the primary bench player.

Alcantara is capable of coming off the bench every day.  That means that which ever player Peraza is playing for can stay on the bench.  It also allows Peraza to have ample off days if needed.

Perhaps the most exciting thing is the combination that the Reds have available for 2017.

The Reds can flank center fielder Billy Hamilton with Alcantara in right and Peraza in left.  That is a trio of forty steal outfielders, if they played everyday.

Those three won’t start together everyday, but doing that in the larger ballparks and against teams that can’t throw out runners could be exciting.  Whenever they play Jon Lester, they should put the trio in.  They could run the Chicago Cubs off of the field.

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The Reds may not be ready to compete, but they are slowly reloading.  Having a good bench player may seem like a small step, but Alcantara answers several of the Reds’ questions from last year.  Hopefully, he won’t start too often in 2017.