FEBRUARY 9: Cincinnati has announced the signing of Jennings. He would earn $1.5MM in the majors, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter), with another $1MM available through incentives based upon how many games he appears in, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon (Twitter link).
FEBRUARY 2: The Reds are nearing a deal with veteran outfielder Desmond Jennings, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). It’ll be a minor league pact, tweets Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jennings, 30, has been limited by leg injuries for the past two seasons. If he can stay healthy through camp, though, he ought to battle with players such as Arismendy Alcantara and Patrick Kivlehan for a bench role.
The right-handed-hitting veteran could make for a useful reserve or platoon piece to pair with center fielder Billy Hamilton (a switch-hitter) and odds-on right field favorite Scott Schebler (who hits from the left side). Though he was overtaken in center in Tampa Bay, Jennings has plenty of experience there. And metrics have graded him as an excellent defender in the corners.
Perhaps the biggest question with Jennings is whether he can restore his lost luster at the plate. Once a steadily average-or-better offensive producer with a nice blend of pop and speed, Jennings has failed to post an OPS over .700 in any of the past three campaigns.