That didn’t last very long, did it? After a delay to arriving in camp due to a positive test for COVID-19, Derek Dietrich arrived in Cincinnati on July 15th and was added to the 60-man player pool. On the 18th he was reassigned to the Prasco Park roster – something that wasn’t surprising given that he likely wasn’t going to be ready for opening day since he was just getting his baseball activities restarted. But like many veteran players around the league in camps on minor league deals, Dietrich had an opt-out clause that he was allowed to exercise if he wasn’t going to make the opening day roster. On Monday afternoon he took that option and has elected to become a free agent.

In his only season with the Cincinnati Reds, Derek Dietrich hit .187/.328/.462 in 113 games. The utility man who can play both the infield and outfield has a season that was basically split into two parts. From Opening Day through June 2nd he hit .269/.373/.700, including a stretch in late May where he hit four homers in two games against the Pirates that led to all kinds of issues between the two teams. But Dietrich didn’t play June 3rd, 4th, or 5th. And when he came back from that stretch, everything changed. From June 6th through the end of the season he would go 12-121 (.099 average) with two home runs. He was hit by 17 pitches in that stretch – which led to five more times he reached base after being plunked than he did by reaching via a hit.

Back in February and March in Goodyear, things hadn’t been doing much better for Dietrich. Small sample size, and spring training alerts should be going off here that the stats don’t mean much – but he was hitting .174/.259/.478 with one walk and 12 strikeouts through 27 plate appearances when the spring came to a halt in mid-March.

On a team with a lot of depth, it makes some sense for Derek Dietrich to think he’s got a better chance of getting some playing time in the big leagues elsewhere. His main position, second base, is covered by new Reds free agent signing Mike Moustakas. As an outfielder, he’s fighting against eleventy-billion other guys for an incredibly limited amount of playing time behind what seems to be a 4-man rotation between the three spots and a designated hitter role among the group. And even as a utility-man he’s battling against another lefty, Josh VanMeter, who has a bit more positional flexibility in his game, and had a better season in 2019.

19 Responses

  1. CallowayPost

    Something tells me that his friendships on the team will keep Cincinnati close to his heart, and I think the Reds really like his personality and the way it makes everyone more pumped, like MM. I think we haven’t seen the last of him.

    • Doug Gray

      Maybe not. But we have this year. He’s not allowed to re-sign with the Reds for 2020.

    • Optimist

      True to all this, and losing him for 2020 may end up being not losing him at all considering where this “season” may wind up.

      The lurking issue is how quickly 2bmen careers may be ending – DD, Scooter, Kipnis, and I’m sure there are some others. Seems they dropped out of sight faster than normal aging usually indicates.

      • JoshG

        Kipnis may be the starting 2B for the cubs on opening day though

  2. Concepcion to Morgan to Perez

    The best .187 hitter in MLB! Has anyone ever had a .790 ops while batting .187?

    • Amarillo

      Adam Dunn got close with an .800 OPS and a .204 average.

  3. Matt WI

    Schebler and Dietrich gone. Wish them both luck, but it also makes me appreciative of the organization being in a position of moving on from a history of hanging on to the “just maybe if it goes right guys” as regular players and having the depth that makes these cuts relatively painless. A great team wouldn’t be sweating either guy, so I think that’s a good thing for the Reds.

    • TR

      I’ve been a Reds fan for a long time, and I like the way the front office has evolved.

  4. RedNat

    Just seems we have been talking about Derrick Dietrich and Scott Schebler too much this offseason. If they were major contributors to the team that would have meant we would have had major injuries or have been way out of contention. Both nice guys but time to move on!

  5. Mary Beth Ellis

    I get it.
    But I hate it.
    A lot.

    • Gonzo Reds

      Absolutely Mary Beth. Had to happen but I’ll have a lot of fun memories of DD loosening up his team mates and making the fans laugh, especially during those hated summer rain delays. DD and Suarez’s interactions with Jim Gray were the highlights of the Reds tv broadcasts last year when you went beyond the actual game play.

      BTW, about time for another of your wonderful essays on life…

  6. MK

    Maybe he can become an instructor at a Clown College.

    • DaveCT

      Haha, yeah. With a specialty of antagonizing the opposition (and not in a good way).

    • TR

      I’m familiar with the Clown Parade but not a specific clown college.

  7. MBS

    That makes it easier for Davidson to crack the 30 man. To be honest we are probably more in need of a RH power bat from the bench than a LH power bat.

  8. VaRedsFan

    Who we got for insect swarms now? Or electrical problems?
    He carried the offense for 2 months last year.
    Good luck DD, you will be missed.

  9. Mike Adams

    For the Reds to make a run at post season they have to have consistent hitting by several guys in the lineup, unlike the last few years.
    When two or three streaky guys got hot together then the Reds did well.
    Need some consistency for this 60 game season.
    I guess the Reds decided DD and Scheb did not have it.