Reds News: Tony Kemp & Mike Ford contract details, Cody Bellinger rejoins NL Central

The Reds inked two veterans to minor-league deals this past week.

Seattle Mariners first baseman Mike Ford
Seattle Mariners first baseman Mike Ford / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds made a pair of minor-league deals official this past week, and free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger will be back in the NL Central for at least one more season.

The Reds signed both former utility player Tony Kemp and first baseman Mike Ford to minor-league contracts with invites to spring training. The duo will have some stiff competition if they hope to break camp with the big league club.

The Chicago Cubs, much to the dismay of Reds Country, will be welcoming back their All-Star outfielder from a year ago. Bellinger re-signed in the wee-hours of Sunday morning. However, it wasn't quite the deal that the former MVP was expecting after his bounce-back campaign in 2023.

Reds News: Tony Kemp & Mike Ford contract details

Tony Kemp and Mike Ford know the deal - perform well enough during spring training or you'll be looking for work once again this spring. Such is the reality when you sign a minor-league contract. The same holds true of Cincinnati native Josh Harrison who logged a double during Saturday's spring opener.

Kemp had a down-year in 2023, but found success against left-handed pitching. The former Oakland A's utility player will reportedly take home $1.75 million if he makes the team out of spring training.

Ford mashed 16 home runs while playing half his games in the pitcher-friendly confines of T-Mobile Park. According to Baseball Savant, those 16 round-trippers would have turned into 19 at Great American Ball Park. Ford is limited defensively and lacks any sort of speed on the base paths. Ford's deal is worth $1.3 million if he makes the club.

Both Kemp and Ford have opt outs as part of their minor-league contracts that would allow them to re-enter free agency if they're not promised a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Reds News: Cody Bellinger re-signs with Cubs

It wasn't the big payday that he was hoping for, but Cody Bellinger is headed back to the Cubs on a three-year, $80 million contract. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the contract contains a pair of opt outs that allows Bellinger to leave the Windy City after both the 2024 and 2025 season.

This contract feels eerily similar to the deal that Nick Castellanos signed with the Cincinnati Reds back in 2020. After not receiving what he'd hoped on the open market, Castellanos signed a four-year, $64 million deal with Cincinnati.

After a down-year in 2020, Castellanos chose not to exercise his opt out, did leave the Queen City after an All-Star campaign in 2021. Castellanos then signed a five-year, $100 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Bellinger will be looking to follow suit.