First baseman Jake Bauers inks minor-league deal with the Reds

Cleveland Indians left fielder Jake Bauers (10) is all smiles.
Cleveland Indians left fielder Jake Bauers (10) is all smiles. / Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Jake Bauers was, at one time, one of the top prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The Cincinnati Reds and Bauers have agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Bauers was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, but was part of a three-team deal in December of 2014 that sent Wil Myers to the Friars, Joe Ross to Washington, and Bauers to Tampa Bay.

Jake Bauers signed a minor-league deal with the Reds.

Jake Bauers has primarily been a first baseman throughout his major league career, though he can also man a corner outfield spot and act as a team's designated hitter. The 26-year-old is out of minor league options, but is still pre-arbitration eligible. Bauers has seen time in the bigs with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and most recently Seattle.

Bauers was designated for assignment last summer by the Indians and eventually traded to the Mariners. Bauers finished his 2021 campaign with a .209/.290.272 slash line and four home runs. After hitting double-digit homers in his first two seasons, Bauers didn't even get promoted to the Indians' active roster during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Bauers was a contact over power type of hitter before making his big league debut, but you wouldn't know it by his .213 batting average. Bauers posted an OPS of just .566 last season; the worst of his three-year career.

The Reds coaching staff will be looking to unlock the potential in Bauers' bat that every scouts would tell you exists. Bauers is a career .266/.363/.417 hitter at the Triple-A level. Bauers has just never been able to transition that ability from the minors to the The Show.

If nothing else, this signing brings depth to the Cincinnati Reds at first base. Outside of Joey Votto, and on occasion Mike Moustakas, the team is very thin at first base. Max Schrock chipped in at first base on occasion last season, and there's little doubt that Kyle Farmer could handle duties over there for a short period of time.

Next. Evaluating the Reds CF options for the 2022 season. dark

Look for Jake Bauers to be competing for a roster spot once the MLB lockout concludes and the Cincinnati Reds head to Goodyear, Arizona. Bauers is still very young, and has the potential to part of Reds bench in 2022.