The Cincinnati Reds signed former Miami Marlins second baseman Derek Dietrich to a minor league contract. This opens up a lot of possibilities for the Reds, not just this season, but beyond.
The Cincinnati Reds and former Miami Marlins’ infielder Derek Dietrich agreed to a minor league deal. According to The Athletics’ Ken Rosenthal, the deal is worth $2M if Dietrich makes the major league roster. Dietrich’s addition is an interesting one, and could benefit the Reds beyond just the 2019 season.
Before we dive too deep into Dietrich’s stats and contract, it’s worth noting that the Reds are obviously not done acquiring talent this offseason. That’s not to say the organization is going to get back into the mix for Dallas Keuchel, but the fact that Dick Williams, Nick Krall, and the front office of the Cincinnati Reds are not just resting on the upgrades they’ve already made should be very encouraging for Reds’ fans.
Now, onto Derek Dietrich. This is a very intriguing signing and is somewhat reminiscent of two years ago when the Reds signed Scooter Gennett. Gennett was picked up off waivers, so it’s a little different scenario, but Dietrich was cut loose by Miami after being projected to make about $4M this coming season through arbitration.
Interestingly enough, if Dietrich makes the Reds out of camp, which is highly possible, he’ll have one more year of arbitration eligibly after the 2019 season. Acquiring a player of Dietrich’s talent, at a comfortable salary, while still maintaining team control beyond this season is a big time win for the organization. Now, a lot of things have to go according to plan in order for that to happen. First, Dietrich has to make the team, which given the talent on the roster, is no easy task.
Can we all agree that Nick Senzel is now the player to beat in center field? I know, he’s only played 44 games in Triple-A, he’s got a history of vertigo, he’s never played the position before, the Reds will lose a year of service time, blah, blah, blah. I get it. I’m not saying he “should” be the center fielder, but all indications show that he “will” be the center fielder. Even John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that David Bell sees him as the favorite right now.
So, now that’s out of the way, where does that leave the remainder of the bench? Well, we just published a piece earlier today about the Reds keeping 13 pitchers, meaning the team would only have 4 bench players to use. If Matt Kemp is still on the team, he and Scott Schebler will be part of the bench. You’d have to think a healthy Curt Casali gets the nod as the backup catcher, meaning there’s just one spot left.
Before the news of the Dietrich signing, I would’ve said Connor Joe had the inside track due to his versatility. Joe can play almost every infield spot, left and right field too. Dietrich is in that same mold, as he can play left field, second and third base. Last season, Dietrich played the majority of his games in the outfield and at third base, however, he’s logged his most innings of work at second base.
Last season, in almost 500 at-bats, Dietrich slashed .265/.330/.421 with 16 home runs and 45 RBIs. Now, when the Reds were in discussions with J.T. Realmuto, we lamented the fact that half his games were in cavernous Marlins Park. The same holds true for Dietrich, who slashed .290/.363/.496 on the road, while his numbers were .239/.297/.347 at home.
If Dietrich sticks through Spring Training, he could be a big time add to this ball club. With Scooter Gennett’s future uncertain, it’s a nice luxury to have a capable big league player on the roster who is also under team control for another season. Dietrich may not even make the team, but this is a low-risk/ high-reward signing and I applaud the Cincinnati Reds for it.