The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Ender Inciarte to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Louisville. The 3-time gold glove award winning center fielder was released by the Atlanta Braves on July 29th.

A solid singles hitter in the first five seasons of his career, Ender Inciarte hit .289/.337/.390 in 694 games from 2014-2018. But in 2019 his ability to hit for average fell off, and then in 2020 and 2021 any remaining power he had shown also disappeared. Since 2020 began he’s hit .200/.267/.277 in 98 games – all with the Braves.

On a minor league deal the Reds have depth in Triple-A that will bring defense to the outfield if they happen to need it at some point this season. Currently the big league team has plenty of outfielders now that Nick Castellanos is back off of the injured list. And things will be getting a bit more crowded when Nick Senzel returns, too – he’s currently playing in his 4th rehab game with the Louisville Bats after having knee surgery.

But if there’s one thing we’ve seen this past year in sports it’s that a lot of guys are winding up injured and having too much depth is not at all a thing. The Reds added something that they may need at some point down the stretch. If not, great. But it’s better to have something and not need it than need something and not have it.

The Reds land three in ESPN’s Top 50 Prospects List

Speaking of the minor leagues, the Cincinnati Reds have three prospects in ESPN’s midseason Top 50 Prospect list. Pitchers Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo are both inside the top 25, with Greene being the 3rd rated pitcher overall and Lodolo being the top left-handed pitcher on the list. Shortstop Jose Barrero finds himself at #40 on the list from former MLB scout and front office member Kiley McDaniel.

24 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    A true CF’er. Wonder how this might play out.

  2. LDS

    I’ve actually been expecting this. Not a game changer, especially given his last couple of years but potentially useful.

    • JayTheRed

      I have to agree, I saw he got released by the Braves and I know the Reds had some interest in him in the past. I thought I bet he comes and here he is.

  3. Klugo

    I really liked Inciarte when he first showed up. How does this work? How long do the Reds have him?

    • 2020ball

      probably until the end of this year

  4. RedsMonk65

    Nice defensive option to have in the wings if necessary. But as pointed out, there’s no place to currently put him on the big club. A few years ago, this would have been an exciting acquisition. Now, it’s simply insurance. Hope he finds his bat in the minors.

    • 2020ball

      He instantly becomes the #1 defensive OF option in the high minors and probably the majors as well. Not a bad depth aquisition or even as a late inning sub in september with the expanded rosters.

    • beelicker

      Looks like he’s a LH Shogo replacement level option “in 2o2o he had the lowest average exit velocity of any major league batter, at 78.2 mph, and the lowest percentage of hard hit balls, at 6.4%” … looks like this season had also a recurrence of a hamstring problem, which along with a ‘torso injury’ from 2o19 initiated the overall decline that has likewise curtailed his former Gold Glove defensive prowess. Atlanta will still be paying him what’s left of $8mil this year + a $1mil buyout for 2o22 already exercised to *not* play for them any more … also has a new son since May with the 2oo9 Miss Universe also who has her own cosmetics beauty line besides being a Venezuelan TV and media personality. Perhaps the Reds are laying the groundwork for some sort of eventual Venezuelan player development outreach program …?

  5. Arthur

    He needs to be on the ML roster ASAP. He is something the Reds haven’t had since Billy Hamilton left – a legit defensive force in CF.

    I would be playing him in CF after the 5th inning in every game the Reds have a lead. He’s a significant upgrade over Naquin in CF.

  6. Fanman

    Reds were trying to acquire him before he signed with Braves. Great defender and speed on bases, is also a team need. Nice pick up

  7. Redsvol

    Cots site says he has 2 options left but 6.2 years of service. They had an option on his 2022 salary but I guess that is moot. If he signed with us, he and his agent may have noticed our CF depth is horrible and may be eyeing a 2022 deal with invite to spring training. If we wind up losing Aquino, we’re going to need a late inning defensive replacement for 2022 so this could be an eye toward 2022 – great planning!

    • Arthur

      He needs to be in Cincinnati as a defensive replacement ASAP. Our outfield defense is poor, to put it kindly. Inciarte would be a significant upgrade defensively anywhere we put him.

      Make him your late inning double-switch when Reds have a lead. Might help out that bullpen just a little bit.

  8. Eddie

    He was good years ago but nice pick up I can see him be called up next month when roster being extended or if Tyler stephenson left game and on IL I can see him added to the spot and freeman shogo or Aquino be cut for moose. This is my opinion tho.

    Btw it was great to see bullpen pitcher pitched a two inning tonight which will help us close this out. I hope Gray get better because we will need him to push this to the postseason.

  9. Ruan

    Don’t look now but Hoffman’s ERA is only .22 worse than Gray’s

  10. Doc

    Any other .200 hitter and this space would be exploding with sarcasm. Pick up somebody who had a few good years a few years ago, but none recently, and everybody is drooling over the pick up. Outfield defense is not why the Reds are 7 games behind and adding a .200 hitting outfielder to slot in with Suarez and the pitcher will not be a difference maker.

    • Tom

      Thank you, I thought I had gone crazy reading some of these comments.

      This is a depth move at best.

    • JayTheRed

      I think your assessment of what people here are thinking might be a little harsh.. I didn’t just read any comments where people were like OMG.. This is huge get him up right now in the bigs. NO didn’t see that once.

      He is a good defensive backup player at this point.

      • Arthur

        That is my point – his weak hitting isn’t a huge factor. It is the fact that he can run and catch the baseball. I don’t propose to use him as a pinch hitter or a starter. He has value only as a defensive replacement.

        By the way – we do know that the Reds outfield defense is dead last in the majors, and they aren’t even sniffing 29th position, right??

        There might not be a place on the roster for him right now, especially with our bullpen woes. But come September 1, he needs to be on the club.

      • RojoB

        Actually—maybe after you posted this—there are two “get him up here now” comments

    • Jimbo44CN

      Exactly. There is a reason Atlanta let him go. No need for another 200 hitter.

  11. Jim Walker

    Looking at his Baseball Reference page, Inciarte looks like a guy who appeared set to really take off as he reached what should have been his peak years but instead levelled then dropped off. (much to the chagrin of the Braves who paid a lot for not much including $8.7M for this year and another $1M to buy out the option on him for 2022). Whether the result of injury or other issues, the Braves must have been thoroughly convinced he was beyond trying to revive in the minors.

    • RojoB

      You mean the Braves just didn’t keep running him out there because he had a big contract?

      I didn’t know that was allowed


  12. TR

    An ok move. It would have been more appropriate a few years ago when Senzel was put in centerfield. If the Reds can get rid of Shogo’s contract, it would work now with late game defense and base path speed, plus Enciarte, until recently, has not been a bad hitter. Needless to say the Reds need additions to the young core in centerfield (minus Senzel) and at shortstop where, hopefully, Barrero can take over next season.

  13. Max BRAGG

    This is all about REDS minor league teams with very little talent, and Senzel problems with injuries!