Last week the Cincinnati Reds outrighted infielder/knuckleballer Alex Blandino to Triple-A Louisville and cleared a spot on the 40-man roster. This morning former Stanford Cardinal refused the assignment and instead chose to become a free agent – first reported by C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.

The Reds originally picked up Alex Blandino in the 1st round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. That was a tough draft for Cincinnati as they only selected and signed three future big leaguers. Blandino was the only one from the first four rounds (and they had five picks in there – including two 1st rounders). They would select Tejay Antone in the 5th round, and later pick up Brian O’Gray in the 8th round. In the 31st round they would pick Josh Palacios, who reached the big leagues for a handful of games in 2021, but he did not sign and was later drafted by the Blue Jays.

It took Alex Blandino a few seasons to reach the big leagues, but in 2018 the then 25-year-old spent about half of a season with the Reds as a utility player. He played in 69 games, but had just 147 plate appearances and hit .234/.324/.289. In 2019 he played in another 23 games for the Reds, this time hitting much better as he posted a .250/.420/.361 line – but that took place over just 50 trips to the plate. Blandino didn’t spend any time in the big leagues in 2020, but he returned in 2021.

This season didn’t go as planned for the infielder. On June 5th he went on the injured list with a broken hand. He wouldn’t return to the field for nearly two months, and once his rehab assignment was finished on August 11th, he was optioned to Triple-A. Blandino struggled to get going while in Louisville, playing in 18 games and picking up just six hits – hitting .102/.289/.153 before his season ended on August 29th. He would later be put on the injured list for Louisville and miss the final month.

7 Responses

  1. LDS

    I doubt his prospects are terrific. But best of luck to him. A bit better than Freeman but hopefully some of the other minor leaguers will fair better since no one expects any FA spending from the Reds.

  2. CI3J

    I’ll bet someone takes a flier on him. Everywhere he’s played, he’s always gotten on base, and he’s extremely versatile. Obviously doesn’t hit for much power, but at least he won’t embarrass himself at the plate if given a few starts here and there.

    In other words, he’s the perfect bench player. I’m pretty sure some other team will see the value in that where the Reds couldn’t.

    Anyway, kinda sad to see him go, but given the dumpster fire that the Reds are turning into, I’m not sure it’s worth dwelling on much.

    • Jim Walker

      He probably stuck around the Reds 40 man roster as long as he did because he was a 1st round choice (#29 overall in 2014) and maintained option eligible status through this season.

      I wonder if he may look at continuing his career as a pitcher versus as an IF. Cartainly his knuckler was his calling card as an emergency pitcher but he edged his fastball into low 90’s on occasion also. If he could come up with a cutter in the high 80’s range to pair with those 2 pitches and throw all 3 for strikes, he might carve himself a spot as a mop up innnings eater who could also cover any corner spot in the field.

      • Mark Moore

        I was thinking the exact same thing.

    • Luke J

      The Reds already have the perfect bench player. He just started at shortstop most of the year. They don’t need another one who is basically worse in every way. In fact, they have a couple other “perfect bench players” in the system who are also better than Blandino. So I’m not sure what value the Reds didn’t see.

  3. CFD3000

    Sorry to see Alex Blandino go. He was versatile, seemed willing to do anything the Reds asked, and had good baseball sense. Who knows what might have been (or still could be) if he had a chance to play more often. But now I’ll hope he gets that chance and wish him well.

  4. Westfester

    wow, just a reminder of how poorly this team missed on those Jocketty drafts…