The Reds are among the teams with interest in free-agent utilityman Brock Holt, per Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The report comes just one day after Cincinnati president of baseball operations Dick Williams indicated that his club may not yet be done adding pieces prior to the season.
The 31-year-old Holt landed on MLBTR’s Top 50 free agents heading into the offseason after putting together a solid campaign in the last season of a seven-year run with the Red Sox. An eye injury (scratched cornea) kept Holt off the field for several weeks early in the season, but he returned to post a quality .297/.369/.402 slash through 295 trips to the plate. That output aligned closely with what Holt managed to produce a year prior, and his combined .286/.366/.407 slash in 662 plate appearances dating back to 2018 marked a decidedly above-average output.
Holt’s strong showing of late is all the more valuable when factoring in his defensive versatility. He’s been primarily a second baseman over the past two seasons (914 innings) but has also seen time at third base (57 innings), shortstop (186 innings), first base (61 innings), left field (50 innings) and right field (107 innings). Holt has brief experience in center field as well but hasn’t lined up there since 2015. Not only is he versatile, but Holt has racked up +9 Outs Above Average playing around the infield over the past two seasons, per Statcast.
For the Reds, it’s unlikely that Holt would be viewed as a starter at any one position, but he’d give them a nice backup option for any of Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, Freddy Galvis or Eugenio Suarez. His ability to play virtually any position on the diamond is all the more appealing to an NL skipper who’ll be making frequent double-switches, too. And Holt provides a particularly nice safety net in the event of an injury to Suarez; in an extended absence for Cincinnati’s excellent third baseman, Moustakas could slide over to his natural position at the hot corner with Holt stepping in for regular reps at his own best position, second base.
From a payroll vantage point, the Reds could surely work what would figure to be a modest salary for Holt into the mix. Cincinnati is currently projected to open the year at roughly $128MM, per Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez, with only $148MM in luxury obligations. That’s only marginally higher than the roughly $126.5MM payroll with which they opened the 2018 season, and ownership has shown increased aggression and a willingness to move payroll forward.
It’s been a relatively quiet winter with regards to Holt and the rumor circuit, although with most of the top options now off the free-agent market, several clubs should have interest in bolstering their infield mix with a player who boasts this level of versatility.