The Cincinnati Reds were busy on Monday. Early in the day the team traded closer Raisel Iglesias, along with sending cash to Los Angeles and in return the Reds picked up right-handed reliever Noé Ramirez and a player to be named later. But that was just a teaser for what was to come. Ok, just kidding, but it wasn’t the final move of the day. In the evening, Dwight Smith Jr. announced on twitter that he had signed with the organization. Later in the evening, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic clarified that it was a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

For Dwight Smith, he’s going to have to really turn some heads in spring training as the team has plenty of outfield depth. But even if he does, he’s playing for what feels like the 5th outfield spot behind Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and Shogo Akiyama. For that (likely) final spot in the outfield Cincinnati will have Dwight Smith Jr., Mark Payton, and Aristides Aquino at the very least. Between today and spring training they likely add some more competition.

Dwight Smith Jr. has played in the Major Leagues in parts of the last four seasons. But it was only the 2019 season that saw him see any real playing time. He played in 101 games in 2019 for the Orioles, hitting .241/.297/.412 with 16 doubles, 3 triples, 13 homers, 26 walks, and 82 strikeouts in 392 plate appearances. In his other three seasons, the first two with Toronto and then in 2020 with Baltimore, he only racked up 29 plate appearances, 75 plate appearances, and 72 plate appearances. He’s a career .248/.310/.416 hitter in the big leagues.

The now 28-year-old outfielder has some pop in his bat. He’s spent most of his minor league career in left field, but does have some experience in both right field and center field. But at the big league level almost all of his playing time has been in left field, playing just 42 of his 1000+ innings in right or center.

49 Responses

  1. Jimbo44CN

    Sounds to me like an even worse version of Goodwin. Good Grief. Just we need, another whiffer.

  2. Rut

    What was the old espn commercial with the fantasy football draft?

    “TJ Houshmanzilly”….. “Championship!”

    Reds gonna red — rinse wash repeat (the OF moves are just laughable)

  3. LDS

    An outfield “depth” move? The one place the Reds seem to have a surplus? I can’t wait for the 2021 season. It’s going to remind us all of the Big Red Machine. I’d hate to be one of the principals at RedLegNation tasked with coming up with something good to write about the Reds every day or so.

  4. Mo Sanford

    Dear deep-level Reds fans (you are if you are on this site) its nice to vent, get it all out. If there ever was a year to vent on, this is the one. Let it all out, you will feel better. Doug is our master therapist. Thank you DougDirt, you are saving us thousands of dollars in psychologist bills.
    Seriously, let’s look at this signing before we stress too much. Every team makes signings like this every year. Is Dwight Smith (and/or his dad) going to be in the starting OF on Opening Day?…uh….no. It is a depth signing, pure and simple. That’s all this is. He is not taking time away from JW, NS, NC or SA, maybe not even MP & AA. This is not a major league contract. He signed a minor league contract and as much as I can surmise, the Reds will have a AAA team this year. He will be there in Louisville just in case. That’s all this is. No stress, take a deep breath. It never hurts getting guys into the minors who have major league experience. Nice to have a distraction in this crazy year of 2020 though, go ahead and vent, it makes us all feel better. Reading the vents makes us all feel better too.

  5. Rob Seng

    If they were to trade Gray, I was hoping it would be to the Sox for Dunning as part of the package. I am really hoping the Iglesias trade negates any more salary dump and keeps Gray here.

  6. Doc

    Trolling releases from the worst team in baseball is probably not one of the more commonly used methods for building a winner. Maybe the strategy is to replenish the farm with high draft picks, so moves are aimed at moving up in the draft.

  7. MK

    I would like to see them use a little of that outfield depth to give Senzel some competition. He has done absolutely nothing offensively at the Major League level including staying on the field to insure a starting spot. If you need to improve the offense an outfielder hitting .250 or.180 isn’t getting it done. Can’t have offensive holes at 1st and center and have a good offense.

    • Hunt4RedsOct

      Really should be on RML site, need someone besides Friedl in the Louisville outfield.

  8. Mark

    The Reds have trimmed 20 million of payroll so far. If they could trade Barnhart, Shogo and Mahle that could be an additional 12 million. If they don’t resign Bauer that is another loss of 18 million from last year for a total of 50 million. Sign Didi for 14 million. Sign a closer. Gray, Castillo, Lodolo, Lorenzen, and Miley. Winker, Senzel, Castellanos, Suarez, Gregorious, Moustakas, Votto, Stephenson.

    • Matthew O'Neal

      I posted this yesterday on someone else’s comment, but I don’t think trading Shogo would be a good move. Had a 451 OBP and a 820 OPS in his last 27 games of the regular season. If he continues to make adjustments, he’s good. Especially for 7 or 8 MM dollars.

    • Tom

      Closers are overrated. No need to spend big bucks on them. They need to make sure that their 2021 SS can hit and field. And to find more offense.

    • Doc

      When I see a pitcher who has thrown a no hitter in Class A, then moved up to AA and threw a perfect game, then moved to the majors and flashed some good stuff, I am not in a hurry to trade him. Tampa Bay doesn’t trade the cream of their farm just as they show signs of production in the bigs.

    • Greg Garland

      The Reds need to hope they adopt the DH in the NL. That way it’s a perfect fit for Joey VOTTO, in the twilight of his career since they really can’t move him, or dump his salary. That way they can move Nick Zenzel to 2B, and move Moesocuos to 1B. If they bail on Sonny Gray, and fail to sign a solid SS and leadoff hitter, and strengthen the bullpen they will be sorry, and not more than a AAA team, not able to compete at the Major League level. I really would like to see them hire Barry Larkin and Ken Griffey Jr as special instructors, to mentor future SS Jose Garcia, and team special hitting instructor.

  9. CI3J

    Still feeling pretty baffled by this offseason so far.

  10. Sliotar

    2021 – Depth Charts and Steamer Projections (FanGraphs)

    Brian Goodwin – 85 wRC+, 0.0 WAR
    Dwight Smith, Jr – 83 wRC+, 0.0 WAR

    One was projected to receive 2.7M, the other is on a minor-league deal (and 2 years younger).

    Krall may stink without Dick Williams around …

    or DIck Williams could have been a business guy who badly overpaid in free agent signings, and bid against himself … and Krall may now shine.

    Either way, in this case … kudos for cutting Goodwin and finding a really cheap “OF guy” replacement.

    There are always AAAA guys looking for a job … every winter.

  11. LDS

    No worries for 2021, the Reds just signed Cheslor Cuthbert. What more do we want?

    • Doc

      Definitely an improvement. Now we’re signing castoffs from playoff teams, a definite step up from signing castoffs from cellar dwellers.

    • Dan

      Yeah, are we all ready for Cheslor Cuthbert Era[TM] to begin?

  12. DataDumpster

    A week or so ago, all the talk seemed to be about all the good shortstops and set up relievers available that neatly coincided with many of the Reds needs. Now, they have jettisoned two pretty good relievers and replaced them with far lesser players, cut more salary, and added another outfielder to an already crowded position.

    The strategy may be nothing more than a test to see if David Bell can actually manage this team. He made a small first step by finally admitting that the team vastly underperformed last year (but not of any mistakes he made). Now, at least he frees himself to think how to realign the ship. The moves thus far give no hints at all what that plan is (if it exists).

    Players and fans need confidence and the belief in a winning strategy. So far, it seems like the highest priority is filling out the 40 man roster to replenish the lost prospects.

  13. west larry

    Iggy, Chapman and (what closers next?). The reds really know how to get a good return for closers!

  14. JB

    AAA depth is all it is. Last year they had to many outfielders and this year they have 5. Last year they thought there was going to be a full season with fans and therefore could have alot of good depth. This year will be a change due to the unknown. I think the Front Office is getting rid of salary that is to expensive to be riding the bench or pitches every other day or whatever. Iglesias was getting way to much money for watching his pitches leave the ballpark. He can be replaced easily with Garrett or Sims or maybe Bradley on a cheaper contract. I dont Bradley will get the 5 mil arbitration was going to give him. I think Winker or Aquino or both will be traded . To many outfielders for 3 positions. Castellanos isnt going anywhere and same with Shogo. Senzel is the only CF unless they think Shogo can play it everyday. I think they are shedding salary and will take the salary and sign a shortstop from free Agency. I dont believe Gray is going anywhere unless they get blown away with a offer that in fact helps the team. Every team is penny pinching and guys arent getting signed because the teams are waiting players out to sign cheaper. Just my opinion. I dont think they are tearing it down yet. We will see.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Castellanos is a below average defender who is an extremely streaky hitter. We should trade for Jay Bruce if that’s what you want. Senzel can’t stay healthy, and when he did play last year could not hit. Shogo had a good stretch for a little while towards the end of last year, but still has not proven to be a consistent hitter. No thanks, I’ll keep Winker and Aquino, and trade Castellanos.

      • JB

        Nobody is trading for Castellanos. That’s why he isnt going anywhere. Aquino hasnt done anything besides that hot streak. I dont know why everybody is in love with him. Nobody is trading for Shogo. I would keep Winker but I think this front office will shop him because nobody is trading for Shogo and Castellanos.

  15. KG

    Bob: Hey, we need a shortstop!
    Nick: Yes we do. Any ideas?
    Bob: Go sign a below average outfielder.
    Nick: Done!

    • Danny

      Wasn’t Senzel a SS at one time? I believe he has the tools to play just about any position, when healthy he has impressed me, unlikely to happen but something to consider

  16. Jimbo44CN

    Aquino was never really given a chance this past year. Nobody is “in love” with him, but he has way more upside than Castellanos. Trading him is wishful thinking on my part I guess.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Way more upside than Castellanos?

      Yikes.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Just my opinion. Maybe a little too strong, but still, I think Aquino has a lot of potential. We will see. Just hope it’s with the Reds and not someone else.

      • JayTheRed

        Aquino reminds me of Encarnacion. Was streaky with Reds but then made a great career for himself a few years after leaving us.

    • DaveCT

      Acquino is still a high risk to have any type of breakout any time soon. His ability to put the bat on the ball is still very questionable. Same as always. His numbers in 2019 jumped out but so did legions of other hitters in 2019. He’s not going to make it anywhere. He’s been an extreme long shot for a long time now. As a defensive replacement with pop, sure, 4th or 5th tops. But also with a ton of k’s and poorly hit balls, not great for a pinch hitter. Friedl would be more successful.

      • Aaron Bradley

        I am pretty sure this was my scouting report two summers ago after his first two or three games and he went on a historical tear. It would seem to be he has earned himself a shot at the very least. Tough league: Scooter Gennett unemployed, Derek Drietrich only offered minor league deal. It’s rough out there.

      • DaveCT

        Absolutely get a tryout. A real tryout, too. I have no illusions at this point. There was a reason we cut him the first time. I’m guessing at this time it’s best to say he caught a wave, and it was a good wave. One of countless others who get killed by breaking balls away off the plate.

      • Bob Purkey

        “Ability to put his bat on the ball. . .” He fits in perfectly with the Reds!

      • Jimbo44CN

        what other player set a rookie record for home runs in a month? Also I believe he set a home run record for the highest total in his first 20 games. He deserves a shot.

      • GR8PNT

        My reply was to the comment that AA has more upside than NC.

    • MBS

      I wrote 3 paragraphs about Aquino, his opportunities, or lack thereof in comparison to Senzel. I deleted it because it was too wordy. Reds outfield condensed.

      Winker > Castellanos = Shogo > Aquino > Senzel

      Summation Senzel should be a utility player, he has the glove to play all over, but hasn’t show the bat or health to own CF

  17. KDJ

    Can someone explain to me why obtaining a plethora of mediocre players is considered adding value? Trade chips? Hope for a breakout season?

    • Doug Gray

      If we’re talking about minor league signings, they are the definition of mediocre deals at best. You need guys to play in Triple-A and be ready to be called up if you need an extra player on the bench.

  18. TR

    It seems to me as long as Bell is the manager of the Reds, Aquino’s potential, if it breaks out, will be with another team.

    • Jim t

      How about this a long as AA keeps striking out by swinging at breaking balls 2 feet of the plate he won’t play regularly. Bell being the manager has little to do with it.

  19. JayTheRed

    Key word What Sonny SHOULD be worth… Reds will mess it up I’m sure.

  20. Bob Purkey

    Doug: Silly question, but isn’t MJB supposed to contract a bunch of minor league teams this year? If I remember correctly, a couple of those were Reds” affiliates.

    If this is true, wouldn’t there be an overabundance of players to fill the Reds’ minor league teams already?

    • Doug Gray

      A lot of players are going to be without jobs – but the guys that are getting cut are going to be from the lower levels, which lost teams – not guys from the upper levels.

  21. GR8PNT

    I’m beginning to see why DW stepped down. They may surprise me by some big move but for now the save money plan is on the forefront. Hope it means something good but…..