The Reds announced a slew of minor league signings today (Twitter link), including the re-signing of outfielder Mason Williams to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. Cincinnati also confirmed its previously reported minor league deals/invites to MLB camp for infielder Christian Colon and righty Anthony Bass. Furthermore, Bobby Nightengale Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets that the Reds agreed to a minor league pact and an invite to Spring Training with former Twins right-hander Felix Jorge, though the organization has yet to announce that addition.
Williams, 27, is a former Yankees top prospect who didn’t pan out in the Bronx but fared reasonably well with Cincinnati last season. The Reds gave Williams his largest slate of MLB work to date, as the 2010 fourth-rounder appeared in 51 games and hit .293/.331/.398 with a pair of homers, five doubles and a triple in 132 plate appearances during that time.
Williams’ return to the organization is all the more notable given Cincinnati’s decision to non-tender Billy Hamilton. While Williams assuredly won’t be viewed as a concrete solution in center, he’ll join the competition for an outfield job with the Reds this spring and could stand a decent chance at eventually cracking the roster if the team doesn’t bring in a more established option via free agency or trade. Williams does, after all, have more than 5000 professional innings in center field under his belt between the Majors and the minors.
As for Jorge, he’s a slight-of-frame righty listed at 6’2″ and 170 pounds but long rated as one of the more polished arms in the Twins’ system. He never drew Top 100 prospect billing throughout the league but did make a pair of starts for the Twins in 2017 and has a solid track record up through the Double-A level. Now 25 years old, Jorge missed much of the 2018 season due to injury and has only a handful of innings in Triple-A, but he owns a career 3.75 ERA with 5.6 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 in 209 innings at the Double-A level. He’s never been one to miss many bats, but Jorge has typically demonstrated pinpoint control throughout his minor league tenure and has kept the ball on the ground at better than a 50 percent clip in recent seasons.
Cincinnati also indicated that it’ll bring right-hander Alex Powers back to the organization as a non-roster invite to MLB camp after a trio of solid seasons. The former White Sox farmhand has been with the Reds since 2016 and delivered his most encouraging season yet in 2018, pitching to a 2.34 ERA with 11.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.64 HR/0 and a 42.5 percent grounder rate in 42 1/3 innings of relief. Powers will turn 27 next month, meaning those fairly gaudy numbers came against much younger and less-experienced competition, but the bottom-line results were enough for the Reds to want to take a look this spring.