The Reds have re-signed infielder/outfielder Derek Dietrich to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training, per a team announcement. He’s represented by All Bases Covered Sports Management.
It’s the second straight winter that Dietrich has inked a minors pact with Cincinnati. An injury to then-second baseman Scooter Gennett helped pave the way for him to land a spot on the big league roster last winter, and partway through the season, Dietrich looked to be one of the best minor league pickups in all of MLB. As of that early-June check-in, Dietrich had posted a stout .263/.369/.684 batting line while already establishing a new career-high in home runs through just 157 plate appearances. He was thriving both at the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park and on the road, but the now-30-year-old slugger saw his offensive output crater shortly thereafter.
From June 7 through season’s end, Dietrich turned in one of the least-productive lines of anyone in baseball: a .102/.284/.212 slash through 149 plate appearances. He managed to the uptick in walks he enjoyed through the season’s first two months, but the rest of his offensive skill set deteriorated at a rapid rate.
In all, Dietrich is a career .246/.334/.427 hitter with 79 home runs, 106 doubles and 21 triples in 2438 plate appearances between the Marlins and Reds. He has experience playing second base, first base, third base and the outfield corners.
This time around, Dietrich will face a new series of challenges in cracking a bulked up Cincinnati roster. The Reds have added sluggers Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos on four-year deals this winter, and they picked up Japanese star Shogo Akiyama on a three-year pact as well. It’s possible that the injury to Eugenio Suarez will give Dietrich a chance to win a roster spot, however, as the Reds could opt to deploy Moustakas at the hot corner while giving Dietrich a look at second base — if he performs well in Spring Training.