The Reds have agreed to a minor league deal with infielder/outfielder Mark Mathias, per the team’s transaction log at MLB.com. He’ll presumably head to big league camp this spring. Mathias is repped by Apex Baseball.
The 29-year-old Mathias split the 2023 season between the Mariners, Pirates and Giants organizations, reaching the big leagues with the latter two of that trio. In a small sample of 72 trips to the plate, Mathias batted .226/.333/.258. He’s a career .246/.317/.391 hitter with six home runs and seven stolen bases in a total of 199 big league plate appearances. Mathias has walked at a healthy 9.5% clip in that time against a higher-than-average 26.1% strikeout rate.
Mathias hasn’t had much big league experience, but he’s a lifetime .288/.383/.454 hitter in parts of three Triple-A seasons totaling 919 plate appearances. He’s logged more than 3000 career innings at second base and more than 1000 frames at third base, with additional cameos at shortstop, first base and the outfield corners.
Cincinnati is already loaded with infield options, with Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, Jonathan India and Christian Encarnacion-Strand all in the mix. Jack of all trades Spencer Steer can play virtually any infield or corner outfield spot as well, though he may be ticketed for left field to begin the upcoming season. TJ Friedl and Will Benson are slated to handle center field and right field, respectively, and the Reds also have former top prospect Jose Barrero and outfielder/DH Jake Fraley in the mix for playing time.
Mathias doesn’t have a clear path to a prominent role with the team, but he provides some defensive versatility with a decent track record at the plate both in Triple-A and in the big leagues.