The Cincinnati Reds have re-signed Derek Dietrich for the 2020 season. The utility player signed a minor league deal and got an invitation to Major League spring training. He has been assigned the number 35 this year, according to Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, as the number he wore last season was taken by Wade Miley.

Despite hitting just .187 last season, Derek Dietrich was still roughly a league average hitter overall thanks to a .328 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage. A very large part of the value that Dietrich brought while at the plate was from being hit by a pitch – which happened an incredible 25 times in just 306 plate appearances – and hitting the ball into the stands. His 19 home runs was a new career high, and it came in much less playing time than he had the previous two years with Miami.

Much like last season, there’s not a clear path for Derek Dietrich to a job as a starter. Last season when spring training began, Dietrich, who had mostly played second base, was behind Scooter Gennett on the depth chart. But when Gennett went down with an injury late in the spring, it led to some movement in the middle infield. But even then, Dietrich was behind Jose Peraza at the position – though that didn’t last quite as long as most expected as Peraza struggled and Dietrich began to see some early playing time.

The first nine weeks of the 2019 season were huge for Dietrich. On June 2nd he was hitting .269/.373/.700, and less than a week earlier he had just cracked three home runs in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Things were going very well at that point of the season. But everything fell apart from that point forward. In the remaining 57 games he played that season he hit .099/.283/.207 with just two home runs. He was hit by 17 pitches in that span, but only had 12 total hits. It’s the kind of slump that gives players nightmares.

Blake Trahan gets a spring training invite

The Cincinnati Reds have also extended an invite to Major League spring training to minor league infielder Blake Trahan. He saw brief action with the Reds in 2018, playing in 11 games and going 3-14 (.214) (all singles, no walks, no hit-by-pitches). Last season, aside from a short rehab stint in Greeneville, Trahan spent the entire year in Triple-A Louisville where he hit .226/.279/.319 in 101 games for the Bats. In the offseason he played in the Dominican Winter League, hitting .176/.235/.187 in 101 plate appearances.

27 Responses

  1. RojoBenjy

    Why?

    The team needs to separate from the past.

    Bell should have some of his old toys taken away for good.

    Glad it’s only a minor league deal.

    Reply
  2. Klugo

    Jobs should not be won or lost in Spring Training unless injury is a factor. Unless he can catch or play SS, hopefully, this is just to add a body.

    Reply
  3. doofus

    Competition is a good thing in the Spring. I am all for this signing. Besides, we can always use a good Bee Keeper or Electrician off of the bench!

    Reply
  4. Tom Mitsoff

    Might be someone to man second base early in the year if Suarez starts on the DL and Moustakas moves to third temporarily.

    Reply
    • B-town fan

      “We hate you” is a little extreme, but the Reds seem to definitely have a show me again approach about VanMeter this year, and might still think last year was a fluke.

      Reply
      • RojoBenjy

        Which is exactly what they should also think of Dietrich.

  5. AirborneJayJay

    This is most unexpected. Not sure I see the logic. I had been hoping against hope that the Reds front office would sign Brock Holt. That seems like that is a certain impossibility now. Does this signing make the team any better? Nope.

    Reply
  6. cenmterfield

    Didn’t DD have a shoulder injury? I’m wondering if they think he can bounce back, assuming he is healthy. I have no problem with stashing a LH pinch hitter in the minors.
    VanMeter needs to play in AAA and improve his defense in the OF and 1B, if that is the way he is going to be used. I see him being called up at some point following a trade or injury (or if he performs well, as part of a trade.) The guy has a quick bat and great plate approach.

    Reply
  7. Sliotar

    Perhaps it’s like the old hockey enforcer, called up from the minor leagues to play against a rival.

    Reds can’t afford to go 7-12 vs. Pirates this season, like they did in 2019 …. and Dietrich certainly seemed to get under the Pittsburgh team’s collective skin.

    Reply
  8. MK

    Maybe he can be on of the Pepsi entertainment guys. That way he can show off and none of his teammates will need to duck beanballs.

    Reply
  9. Kevin Patrick

    Well… I for one recognize Dietrich being one of the best minor league contracts ever signed by the Reds. If his shoulder is in good shape, I see no reason why he couldn’t contribute under the right circumstances. He sure as heck made opening day last year a lot better. That said, I thought it was interesting Trahan got an invite to Spring in this context. If the Reds were willing to hand out minor league contracts for depth, I would have expected it to be at SS. I think perhaps Cozart’s injuries are a little more serious than my optimistic loyalty blinders allowed me to see.

    Reply
    • RojoBenjy

      I tend to think Cozart may have to retire.

      He’d be a great coach.

      Reply
  10. B-town fan

    Here is a link to the Jim Day Podcast with Joey Votto from yesterday Feb 11. A very very fascinating and funny interview/conversation with Votto, buy far the best I have ever heard of Votto, and easily the best Jim Day podcast. All most nothing about the Reds and Votto himself is left unsaid. It’s a little over 1:30 min long and every minute is entertaining. Maybe come back and post what you guys think about it, after listening.

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-jim-day-podcast-ep-32-joey-votto/id1454066128?i=1000465352184

    Reply
  11. DaveCT

    Ok. Insurance if Suarez needs more time than thought.

    Personal benefit to Dietrich in being allowed chance to showcase his health, or work his way back at AAA.

    If it’s a wash, I’m good with that. If it’s not, bleh.

    I really don’t want to listen to Thom B rave about him all year as if he’s Jeff Kent.

    Reply
  12. Indy Red Man

    DD was a pretty decent player til that 3 hr game. I knew when he was talking about being in HR derby that his head was on wrong. Not a bad deal for depth, but JVM obviously has more of a ceiling. I guess they want him to get stead at-bats in Lville.

    Reply
    • Indy Red Man

      DD still had a .829 ops vs righties. Never a bad idea to get a guy up there late with power and the eagerness to take one for the team))

      Reply
  13. JayTheRed

    I’m fine with bringing him back. Lets hope his shoulder is better because once that happen he fell off the hitting wagon.

    Minor league deal with invite. Possibly plays 2b til Suarez is back with Moose going to 3b till then. Not a bad idea to see if he still has something.

    Reply
  14. TR

    I’m confused by this move. Have the Reds given up on JVM or acquiring Brock Holt?

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      Josh VanMeter is on the 40-man roster. Derek Dietrich is not. That alone makes Josh VanMeter significantly ahead of Dietrich in the pecking order of things for the Reds.

      Reply
  15. JoshG

    I think it’s at least partly a favor to Dietrich to show other teams what he can do.

    Reply
  16. VaRedsFan

    I guess Trahan gets an invite because someone has to play innings 7-9 in spring games

    Reply

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