The Cincinnati Reds have signed P.J. Higgins for the 2024 season. Higgins plays both catcher and first base. His contract is a minor league deal and it includes an invite to big league spring training.

P.J. Higgins is 30-years-old and has spent parts of two seasons with the Chicago Cubs in the big leagues. In 2021 he made his Major League debut, playing in nine games with Chicago. In 2022 he saw a lot more playing time, getting into 74 games for the Cubs and hitting .229/.310/.383 with 11 doubles, a triple, and 6 home runs in his 229 plate appearances. During that season he split time evenly between first base and catcher (he played eight more innings at first than he did as a catcher), but also played in parts of four games at third base.

In 2023 he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He spent the first half of the 2023 season with them in Triple-A Reno. In 58 games for the Aces he hit .317/.407/.473 with 15 doubles, a triple, and 6 home runs while walking 33 times to go along with 49 strikeouts. On July 15th the Chicago Cubs bought his contract from Arizona. For the remainder of the season he spent his time with their Triple-A club in Iowa. In 32 games in the International League after his acquisition he hit .285/.333/.480 with 9 more doubles and 5 more home runs to go along with 9 walks and 35 strikeouts. In total he hit .306/.382/.476 last season in Triple-A.

Cincinnati lost both of the catchers that they had in Triple-A in 2023 to minor league free agency. Needing to replace the duo that hit very well (Chuckie Robinson hit .290/.356/.450 and Jhonny Pereda hit .325/.405/.468 in a combined 677 plate appearances for the Bats), P.J. Higgins looks like he can step into that role. And with big league experience, he can also be expected to be a 3rd catching option if and when the big league club would need him to step in.

35 Responses

  1. wkuchad

    Good signing. Hope we never see him in Cincy, but having the depth in the minors is very important. Our 2022 catching situation was abysmal. Never want to see that again, especially if we’re trying to contend.

    • LDS

      Agree. Hopefully, he never hits the 40. But, sadly far too many of these depth signing did in previous years

    • VaRedsFan

      2022 was abysmal, true, but that is was because they were down to catchers 4-5-6-off the street- on the depth chart. No team could cover that many catching options.

  2. Jimbo44CN

    Too bad we lost Chuckie. Seemed like he was starting to figure it out.

    • jessecuster44

      Saw Chuckie play live. He was good. IMHO, mistake letting him go.

      • JayTheRed

        I don’t think Chuck has signed with anyone yet so there is a possibility he could return. He is probably scoping out what’s available for him around the league at this point of the off season. Here is hoping Reds find a way to bring him back to AAA.

  3. Michael B. Green

    Nice depth chart signing.

  4. MK

    Would have rather kept the two they lost.

    • JB

      Yeah I as well. Not sure why they haven’t pursued them but maybe they both chose to move on.

  5. Max

    GM decides to let .290 Triple A catcher go to sign .229 30 year old TRAVELER. Right when you thank Front Office us turning corner another IDIOTIC move.

    • 2020ball

      Taking a guys minor league average and comparing it to someones major league average is so ridiculous its barely fathomable. Chuckie has a major league average, maybe you should use that instead and see how your comment sounds then.

    • BK

      @Max, I don’t understand your point:

      Pete Higgins:
      MLB, 254 PA, 77 OPS+
      2023 AAA, 398 PA, 306/382/476

      Chuckie Robinson:
      MLB, 60 PA, 8 OPS+
      2023 AAA, 413 PA, 290/356/450

      • Tar Heel Red

        Very true. Robinson is a career .258 hitter in the minors…a far cry from .290. He is also rated average defensively. Minor league catchers come and go.

      • Frostgiant80

        Chuckie has 59 AB’s in the majors and has a batting average of .136…

    • IndyRedsFan


      Before you call people idiotic, you should stop to consider that Robinson and Pereda may have decided that they didn’t want to re-sign. They are both free agents. They both had good years in AAA, but didn’t get called up.
      If I were them, I might look to sign somewhere with a clearer path to the majors.

      And….unless they’ve already signed elsewhere, they still may be back.

    • JayTheRed

      I am sure both the catchers are simply seeing what else they can get out there from other teams. It’s insanely early in the off season. How about we give our GM some time before we start dogging him too badly.

      • 2020ball

        RLN: “there is never any time, only time to complain”

  6. Kevin Patrick

    Good to have a player who can play in the majors if necessary. Especially if somebody is hurt and they don’t want to IL him… you get a guy who is a potential 25th player who could be as good / useful or better than another 25th player. I remember him on the Cubs. You know he’s hungry to prove something after being in the Dbacks org and watching them go to the World Series.

  7. Tar Heel Red

    There is an old saying in baseball…”prospects are suspects until proven otherwise”.

    On different note…It has been reported by Ken Rosenthal that the Reds, while not actively shopping CES, have been discussing him in trade. I would hate to see that happen, unless they were to get a young/proven starter like a Logan Gilbert or
    Dylan Cease type.

    • Old Big Ed

      I think that means that every team trying to swap a pitcher asks for CES.

      Not even the Cardinals are dumb enough to trade CES right now.

  8. RedBB

    I like it. Softens the blow of losing Chuckie. How is his D though?

  9. Harry Stoner

    Trading CES would be a foolish, regrettable move, but one I can certainly imagine the Reds making.

    Why else be “looking” at a journeyman like Candelario?

    While at the same time convincing themselves that “There isn’t playing time for Votto….”

    And you have all the makings of a historically bad trade.

    CES hit >.600 in ST and Krall sent him back to AAA and let him twist in the wind for most of the season.

    He comes up and hits well, with power.

    Reds identify the off season need for a power right handed bat.

    But let’s trade the guy.

    • Steve

      Did I miss something in this article??? Where are you coming up with a CES trade in an article about signing a 30 year old minor league catcher?? Additionally, even if they sign Candelario it would not necessitate a CES trade as he can play 1st/3rd and can fill the DH role…It really feels like you have created some odd narrative here that has no real basis in reality.

      • Harry Stoner

        It’s early in the Hot Stove League, @Steve.

        Where’s a collective basis of reality? That shifts around more fluidly than at a Grateful Dead concert.

        I was responding to Tar Heel’s citing of a Rosenthal comment…which I couldn’t track down on his Twitter / X feed myself.

        Am I worried about the Reds making a goof-ball trade for mediocre pitching?

        Of course, I am.

        The Reds have a once-in-a-generation concentration of young hitters.
        I’m just lobbying for them to keep that intact and to open up the wallet if they want to add pitching.

        Candelario is a ringer at best. The Reds have a good supply of infielders.

        A right hand hitting OF would be a priority over another 3B-1B-DH option.

        Plenty of bodies to fill those spots.

        I thoroughly enjoy India on the team, but if someone has to go in a trade, I’d much rather see him than Marte or CES or Steer.

    • Old Big Ed

      I haven’t yet been convinced of the veracity of the Candelario story. Nice player, but not a fit on Cincinnati’s roster. And agree that it would be nuts to trade CES.

      I pretty much discount that stories from the national writers, who focus on big-market teams that sometime feed inaccurate info to those writers.

  10. JaxDan

    When I see CES I see Paul Konerko. I hated that trade with the White Sox and I will hate to CES traded.

    If he were to be traded one player that I would be interested in is Logan Gilbert bur would not want Candelario.

    • David

      Well, the Reds kept Sean Casey (got him from Cleveland for Dave Burba) and traded Paul Konerko. They got Konerko from the Dodgers farm system for a relief pitcher the Dodgers thought they needed.
      Then they got Mike Cameron as part of the Konerko trade.

      Konerko went on to have a pretty good career with the White Sox. Casey had one really good season (1999) and then kind of went downhill. A warning about judging young players early in their career.

      Cameron was pretty good, and was traded to the Mariners as part of the Ken Griffey deal.
      But I agree. It would be a monumental mistake to trade CES at this point in his career. He has what appears to be a tremendous upside in his ability to hit.

  11. wkuchad

    Per Rotoworld, “Corbin Carroll was named as the National League Rookie of the Year for 2023… Mets right-hander Kodai Senga was the runner-up, with Dodgers outfielder James Outman, Rockies outfielder Nolan Jones and Reds infielder Matt McLain rounding out the top five.”

    I’ll have to check out the others’ stats, but I thought the Reds could have had two others in the top five.

    • David

      Corbin Carroll was the favorite. He had a pretty good year for the D- Backs, and he was, I think, with them for the entire season.
      Matt McLain came up about the 8 week mark, I think. And he did have a really good year for the Reds, as we all know.
      Joey Votto was runner up to Geovany Soto, Cubs catcher, for Rookie of the year in 2008. And you may well ask….what ever happened to Geovany Soto?

      In 2008, the Reds had THREE top vote getters for Rookie of the Year
      Joey Votto
      Edinson Volquez
      Jay Bruce
      And you may well surmise that this present crop of Reds’ talent portends for a very good team in a 2024 and 2025, at least.

  12. old-school

    First question of the off season was JV.
    Technically maile, but that was likely.

    Next question is do the reds tender Nick Senzel and Derek Law by Friday. I think Senzel will be traded for a lottery ticket except no one wants to give up a lottery ticket knowing he will be non tendered. I would not tender Law either. They need better arms in the bullpen.

    See what happens between now and Friday.

    • Tar Heel Red

      old-school< I would not tender Law, if for nothing else than his versatility in the pen. The Reds need every quality arm they can in the bullpen (in both the majors and minors) and in my opinion he is one.

      Senzel, on the other hand, should be non-tendered. A change of scenery (and an attitude adjustment) may be the best thing for him going forward. He seems to have become a drag on team chemistry which, on a very young team like this one, could really be a bad situation. I hope they can trade him before the tender deadline so they can at least get something for him, but I'm not holding my breath.

      • Tar Heel Red

        should have read I would tender Law a contract…bad fingers!

    • MBS

      Obviously it depends on how serious the Reds are in acquiring FA’s but there should be more guys non tendered than that if they are serious.

      • 2020ball

        There zero reason they cant tender and DFA that player later. This blogs obsession with keeping 40 man spots empty for long periods of time is strange if you ask me, constantly limiting options and depth due to wanting fantasy players like ohtani and soto.

      • Old Big Ed

        I agree with 2020. There is no point in having less than a 40-man roster at this time of the year. If a deal comes up, then the Reds can release, etc. any one of about five guys who are hanging by a thread. In the meantime, another team may actually want one of the fringe guys as a side piece in a trade.