In a minor move today, Reds GM Wayne Krivsky signed first baseman Scott Hatteberg for 2007 with an option for ’08.
The 36 year-old slumped to an awful .256/.334/.343 line for the A’s in ’05. He signed a free agent deal in February for $750,000 with Cincinnati. This year, Hatteberg has surged to a .324/.417/.505 performance in 275 ABs. He’s drawn a walk in an impressive 14% of his plate appearances, 12th in the league.
Hatteberg historically performs worse against southpaws, and Jerry Narron has done well to use him primarily against righties. In the previous three seasons, Hatteberg faced lefties in 28% of his at-bats. This year, he’s seen them just 19% of the time.
Given the small commitment to Hatteberg, the path is still clear for 22 year-old first baseman Joey Votto whenever he’s ready. Votto is hitting .325/.407/.577 in Double A this season. The .984 OPS leads the Southern League. Baseball Prospectus’s Kevin Goldstein rates Votto the third best first base prospect in the game behind Daric Barton and James Loney. Throw in Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey and the Reds can have a core of excellent youngsters in place by ’08.