The Reds have acquired outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. in a trade with the Red Sox, as announced by both teams. Boston will receive cash considerations in return, and the Reds have assigned DeShields to their Triple-A affiliate.
Since DeShields wasn’t on Boston’s 40-man roster and was playing on a minor league contract, he was eligible to be dealt after the July 30 trade deadline. The Sox and Reds have each made similar deals this August — Cincinnati previously swapped Mallex Smith to the Blue Jays for cash, while Boston picked up right-hander Brad Peacock from the Indians just yesterday and added DeShields himself from the Rangers four weeks ago.
DeShields is still looking to appear in his first big league game of the 2021 season. The veteran was non-tendered by Cleveland last winter and signed back on with Texas on a minor league contract, though he didn’t receive a call-up from either the Rangers or the Red Sox. The expanded September rosters create some extra opportunity for DeShields to get a look from the Reds, especially since Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel are still on the injured list. There is also a family connection involved, as Delino DeShields Sr. is Cincinnati’s first base coach.
With Winker expected back in a couple of weeks, the Reds will have Winker and Nick Castellanos in the corner outfield, with DeShields perhaps serving as a right-handed hitting complement to Tyler Naquin and Shogo Akiyama in center field. Aristides Aquino and Max Schrock are also on Cincinnati’s roster, though they lack DeShields’ experience and speed. The latter skill could be potentially very useful for DeShields to earn pinch-running opportunities for the Reds down the stretch and potentially into the postseason.
DeShields is 21-for-24 in stolen base attempts at the Triple-A level this season, and he has hit .252/.385/.366 over a combined 381 plate appearances with the Rangers and Red Sox affiliates. While DeShields is best known for his fielding and baserunning, his offense has been much of a mixed bag, as he has hit only .246/.326/.340 over 2056 career PA in the majors.