I guess if you put it out into the universe, it can happen!
A couple days ago I wrote about utility man Derek Dietrich opting out of his deal with the Reds, and how, despite the tricky roster fit, it sure would be cool if the Cubs could find a way to bring him in. And what do you know, tonight he announced on his IG that it’s happening:
It’s TBD when Dietrich will actually join the Cubs – there could be an intake process, he was a little behind schedule because of a positive COVID test before camp, etc. It’s possible he’ll first head to South Bend to get in some live action before joining the big league team. Today the Cubs announced a full 30-man roster to open the season, and until/unless the Cubs decide to drop down to 15 pitchers or decide to drop a third catcher, there isn’t an obvious spot for Dietrich just yet.
But at some point, you’re highly likely to want to have that bat available for the big league team.
I can’t speak to whether Dietrich will be ready for Opening Day, and I also can’t tell you for sure that he’s an obvious fit for the Cubs. But since he’s a bench guy I’ve wanted to see the Cubs go after in the past, I had to mention his availability. He’s going to find a job somewhere, and I wonder if the Cubs might try to grab him as a depth option. There has been rumored interest in the past.
Dietrich has long been able to capably play at every defensive position outside of shortstop, center field, and catcher. He rakes against righties, and he’s pretty much always hit very well when not playing at cavernous Marlins Park. And get this: last year with the Reds, Dietrich put up a 111 wRC+ against righties … despite a .168 BABIP! The guy had a 40.1% hard contact rate against righties, and his expected stats at Statcast suggested he was third most unlucky batted (by expected BABIP) in all of baseball last year (min. 300 PAs).
It’s highly likely that Dietrich can still really rake against righties. And from a guy who can play all over defensively, in a league that now has the DH, I just get a little greedy wishing the Cubs could find a way to sign him and stash him – maybe add him to the player pool, and then let him work back into game shape for a couple weeks.
Bonus? Dietrich can spill any beans he’s got on Reds pitching.
More on the Dietrich signing soon.