As the Cincinnati Reds continue to prepare for what the fanbase hopes is a return to the MLB Postseason in 2024, the club made an interesting signing on Monday, and was also involved an a peculiar rumor as well.
The Reds signed Josh Harrison to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training. The veteran will be given the opportunity to earn a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster and play for his hometown team during the upcoming season.
3 possible signings Reds should prioritize over Tony Kemp
The rumor was a bit strange, however, as the Reds were linked to former Oakland A's utility player Tony Kemp. While his reverse splits saw him have success against left-handed pitching 2023, that would seem to be outlier. For his career, Kemp has hit just .241/.346/.343 off southpaws.
Rather than sign Kemp, there are still some quality bats available on the open market. After investing over $100 million in free agency this offseason, Cincinnati may not want to spend a lot, but should prioritize these three free agents over inking Kemp to a deal.
Michael A. Taylor
The Reds were said to have interest in Michael A. Taylor earlier this offseason, but the speedy outfielder is still available on the free agent market. Taylor's price may be a bit outside the Reds' comfort zone at this stage of the offseason, but if he remains unsigned heading into spring training, perhaps the former Minnesota Twin would be willing to lower his expectations ahead the 2024 season.
Taylor, who's also been linked to the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres this winter, fits this year's Reds team. The 32-year-old offers a right-handed bat to platoon alongside the plethora of left-handed hitting outfielders on Cincinnati's roster. The Reds current crop of outfielders features TJ Friedl, Will Benson, Nick Martini, and Jake Fraley; all of whom are left-handed batters.
Taylor offers the ability to play all three outfield spot and can do so while playing above-average defense. Last season, according to Baseball Savant, Taylor was worth nine outs above average (OAA), which put him among the 91st percentile in all of baseball.
Michael A. Taylor also possesses elite speed, which is something that would fit the Reds' personality. David Bell's club led Major League Baseball in stolen bases (190) a year ago, and it stands to reason that the Reds will be looking to repeat that in 2024. While Tony Kemp seems like an odd choice, Taylor is the perfect fit for the Reds.