Cincinnati Reds sign a pair of minor league outfielders for flexibility

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Despite being fully loaded on the big league roster right now, the Cincinnati Reds add two minor league outfielders.

The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league contracts.  The Reds have five projected players for the 2018 season.  Things could change and that is where Herrera and Williams come into play.

Herrera comes from the Colorado Rockies’ organization.  Last year he batted .278 with an OBP of .351.  However, he only had 3 home runs and 27 RBIs.

Herrera is considered a center fielder, but played plenty of left field last season in Albuquerque’s outfield.  He played in 103 games last season in Triple-A.  He also had 20 steals as a speedster.

The New York Yankees drafted Williams in 2010.  He had spent his entire professional career with the Yankees before the Reds signed him.  Williams made his major league debut this season, going four for sixteen.

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Williams bats left-handed and hit .263 in Triple-A last year.  In 106 games Williams only connected on two home runs and thirty RBIs.  He had nineteen steals as a projected center fielder.

There is something blatantly obvious about this pair of signings.  They are both players that can play center field without a doubt.  There must be a reason for this.

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The Cincinnati Reds appear to be getting ready to move center fielder Billy Hamilton with these signings.

Hamilton is rumored to be the topic of discussion between the Reds and the San Francisco Giants.  It makes sense, as Hamilton could cover the massive center field in AT&T Park.  It would also open more playing time for all of the Reds’ other outfielders.

With Hamilton on another team, the Reds could play Scott Schebler in center.  

That would allow Jesse Winker to start in right field every day.  This plan, of course, requires a strong defensive back-up center fielder.

Phil Ervin is currently a center fielder, but he projects to play just an average MLB center field.  That means that the Reds would need another center fielder.  Taylor Trammell may be the guy sometime, but not yet.

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That’s where Herrera and Williams come into play.  Either one of them can play back-up center field and be a pinch runner at the big league level, if Hamilton moves onto another team.  The Reds lacked this long term planning the past few off-seasons.  That they appear to show it now is exciting for all of their fans headed into 2018.