It’s not an eye-popping addition, but it’s the kind of move that can provide some value, and can do so on the cheap:
#Reds in agreement with free-agent infielder Derek Dietrich on a minor-league contract, pending a physical. Deal includes invitation to major-league spring training and will be worth $2M+ on the major-league side.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 18, 2019
Dietrich was non-tendered by the Marlins this offseason, but nevertheless can provide a great deal of value to the Reds in a depth role. We were hot on the idea of Dietrich as a depth option for the Cubs before the Daniel Descalso addition:
There was some rumored Cubs interest in Dietrich back in July, though that doesn’t necessarily guarantee they’re still interested now in free agency. If the Cubs do still have interest, though, nothing he did offensively this past year should dissuade them. The 29-year-old lefty hit .265/.330/.421 (109 wRC+), which more or less matched his career numbers (.254/.335/.422, 109 wRC+). He has strong splits in his career, faring far better against righties (.259/.343/.434, 114 wRC+) than fellow lefties (.232/.299/.373, 86), but that’s not necessarily a problem for a guy who is more a “piece of the puzzle” than an everyday starter.
He’s also been a downright very good hitter away from Marlins Park in his career (.271/.351/.462, 120 wRC+), which I point out because Marlins Park has been to pitchers what Coors Field is to hitters – it was 25% harder on hitters last year than average, while Coors Field was 27% better for hitters than average. It’s been one of the four most pitcher-friendly parks each of the last three seasons, in fact. Dietrich’s ISO is nearly 50(!) points higher on the road in his career than at spacious Marlins Park (where, until this past season, baseballs were also subjected to high humidity in storage, which reduces their springiness).
So, all that good potential now belongs to the Reds. Who’ve already improved a great deal this offseason in an attempt to compete this year. Like every other team in the NL Central. Well, the compete part. Not the improve part.