The Cincinnati Reds have picked up some outfield depth on Tuesday afternoon as they signed free agent Conner Capel to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training.

Over the last two seasons Conner Capel has spent time in the big leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics. In 2022 he had 59 plate appearances and hit .308/.356/.519 with three home runs with the Cardinals and Athletics. This past year he had 86 plate appearances – all with Oakland – and hit .260/.372/.329.

The 26-year-old spent most of his season in Triple-A Las Vegas. He played in 92 games in the Pacific Coast League and hit .252/.346/.402 with nine home runs, 17 steals, and 46 walks to go along with 84 strikeouts in 391 plate appearances. Most of his time in the outfield in Triple-A came as a center fielder, but in the big leagues he only played in the corners in 2023 with Oakland.

He’s shown slightly above-average sprint speed this year between Triple-A and Major League Baseball. While he’s had limited time in the big leagues he’s never played center at that level, and with his speed numbers, it’s probably indicative of him being more of an emergency caliber center fielder than a guy who can play there on a daily basis.

Offensively he’s a guy who has generally made contact at a solid rate, but also a guy who hasn’t shown much power, either. While he’s not a slap hitter, he’s not a guy who is going to put up a bunch of home runs, either. Since the start of 2022 he’s stolen 44 bases, but he’s also been caught 13 times. He can probably be used as a pinch runner, but likely more as a guy to just add some speed to the bases than a guy to call on to steal a bag for you in a key situation late in a game.

The left-handed hitter is 26-years-old and still has one option remaining. He’ll turn 27 in May. You can see his career stats here.

46 Responses

  1. CI3J

    The left-handed hitter

    Say it ain’t so!

  2. DaveCT

    So, he hit LH pitching well last year …

    Friedl, Benson, Fraley, Martini, Thompson, Hurtubise, and Capel.

    Probably nothing to read in the tea leaves. Or not.

    • Greenfield Red

      MAYBE MICHAEL WACHA WAS NOT WILLING TO SIGN HERE.

      • Jedi Joey

        @Old Timer, you probably would do a better job of trying to convince others of your point if you would quit be condescending and insulting. Just a small suggestion from one RLN poster to another. To each his own though.

  3. RedsGettingBetter

    He looks like a better pick up than Thompson, imo

  4. Amarillo

    Louisville needs to fill out a roster also.

  5. Kevin Patrick

    I like that he has an option. Choices are good.

    • Colorado Red

      would not have matter, since he signed a minor league contract.

      • Kevin Patrick

        What if he made the team out of the Spring?

      • Colorado Red

        then he would need the option. My point was he did not need the option, if he does not make the team. No risk here.

  6. LDS

    The Reds usual version of “where’s Waldo?” – where’s Wonderboy?

    • Colorado Red

      Every team does this. I have seem this type of signing from the Yanks and the Dodgers (yuk), etc. No real news.

      • LDS

        Yes, they do. But this is about all the Reds do, year after year. They’ve spent some money this off season but haven’t improved themselves materially.

      • Indy Red Man

        Well it’s a slippery slope. Read where Jordan Montgomery expects something like $140 mil/6 years. That’s crazy. He’ll probably be about done by 2027. Reds need help, but we just got rid of the dead money. We’ll need to pay and keep most of our young guys

      • David

        @ IndyRedman

        Yes, going forward, I could see that the Reds might sign more players to extensions, depending on how they play in 2024
        This has been discussed before on this here Redleg Nation blog.
        EDLC, CES, Spencer Steer, Noelvi Marte, Matt McLain, Andrew Abbott, Alexis Diaz…all might be candidates for getting contract extensions that would take them through their Arb years. Together, that could amount to a lot of money….and I would not be against a move to keep the parts together on this team. And this will be a judgement call in and after 2024.
        The Reds may or may not have enough starting pitching for 2024. A solid, proven ML starter would have been a good thing….but perhaps the Reds will be fine without one.
        This is not an endorsement of Nick Krall, or the Top Men (ownership management) on what they have done or not done. I am in no way satisfied in what the Reds have done and not done over the last few years. I think they are passive in many ways, and not that interested in being competitive….more interested in not LOSING money. I think Bob Castellini has frankly been a big fat liar regarding things he said upon becoming the Managing Partner 13-14 years ago. In retrospect, he has not been the owner he claimed he would be. In a large part, I blame Castellini and Walt Jocketty for where the Reds have been between 2013 and 2020.
        Yet again, no deal might be better than a bad deal, ie, giving up too much talent in a trade for a problematical starting pitcher.

      • Oldtimer

        Pure baloney to blame Castellini and Jocketty. They made the moves for two NL Central division champions and 2013 Wild Card.

        Some Reds “fans” are unbelievable and not in a good way. Two pair short of a full house in a poker game.

      • west larry

        Wow! you must have had bad fish for dinner to turn you this sour. pldtimer. you are pointing out the bright spots in the Jocketty/Castellini tenure and ignoring the other miserable 10 to 15 year run they had together.

        ckity/

      • greenmtred

        Pavlov’s experiment addressed this phenomenon. Just like a ringing bell, the Reds signing a guy for minor league depth and, of course, possible emergency MLB use brings out the relentless sky-is-falling cynics.

      • Jedi Joey

        LOL at grumpy Old Timer! If someone doesn’t agree with him they are crazy. Yeah, those years minus a few playoff spots were so glorious. Let us all bow down and thank the King of Produce. Where else are you going to go?

      • Reaganspad

        Walt, such a brainiac, had to have Dusty who has been the worst manager in my lifetime. He is well liked by owners but was 0-5 on improving teams to where the exceeded expectations.

        He could never manage this Reds team since he wouldn’t play any rookies. He and Walt would move Hunter Greene and Abbott to the bullpen.

        There management of Aroldis Chapman is the most criminal thing I have witnessed in baseball. An athletic Clayton Kershaw made into a 9th inning only guy.

        Walt got spoiled on his success with his under achieving A’s. I loved that 1990 series where Ricky Henderson is telling the world that “everyone knows we are the best team.”

        And Chris Sabo replying “we kicked your &$#@% @#&$% ass.”

        Walt and Dusty are so Ricky Henderson.

        I like the Chris Sabo type of Red. I am not an alibi for Castelini. I live in Portland and have watched the blazers reset after trading Lilliard. They are more fun to watch today than they have been in years. And you can see what they are building.

        I can easily see what the Reds are building. And they are more fun to watch than they have been in years. Think Krall has done a great job given his constraints.

        Walt was trying to build the mini version of the yankees

      • Oldtimer

        Dusty Baker is among the best MLB managers ever. Look it up.

        Bryan Price is among the worst MLB managers ever. Look it up.

        Dusty will be in the HOF. Price will have to buy a ticket to enter.

        Some modern Reds “fans” are utterly clueless. Unbelievable.

        Walt Jocketty is rated among the Top 10 GM’s of the modern era.

      • Jedi Joey

        Old Timer you crack me up and entertain me with your bashing of modern Reds’ fans. Thanks for that! lol

      • Oldtimer

        Besides the Astros’ 2022 championship and three pennants (two with Houston and one with San Francisco) to his credit, Baker, 74, ranks seventh all-time with 2,183 wins, Among the 12 managers with at least 2,000, all 10 previously eligible are in the Hall of Fame.

        Hmm.

      • Oldtimer

        (Jockey)

        During his time as Cardinal GM, the Cardinals compiled seven National League Central Division championships (1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), two National League Championships (2004 and 2006), and one World Series Championship (2006). The Cardinals had seven straight winning seasons under Jocketty, including 100+ win seasons in 2004 and 2005. Jocketty has been named the Executive of the Year in MLB three times, in 2000, 2004, & 2010 (that one as Reds GM).

        Hmm.

      • Tom Reeves

        Solid pick up for depth.

        Adding money that will be dead money is a trap for teams like the Reds. It’s sugar candy for fans – makes us feel great but we soon regret it.

      • LDS

        @greenmtred, the issue isn’t signing depth to minor league contracts. It’s the number of these castoffs that wind up in Bell[‘s starting lineups. And the fact that the Reds have a good young core and haven’t added anything of note to the team. Greene isn’t yet a top of the rotation pitcher – he’s too easy to hit right now, at least in most games. They need pitching, starters and bullpen. They need a power hitting outfielder. They don’t need more castoffs. They don’t need career .243 infielders, etc. So it’s not cynicism. It’s recognizing the Reds for who they are.

      • Reaganspad

        Dusty has had 6 lay down hands to win a World Series. He has won 1. And he has not built a thing. He has been presented with teams that had Mark Prior and Woods, 2 @ #1 starters and could not get the job done with the Cubs. He underachieved with the Reds. The Giants won eleventy billion World Series AFTER Dusty left town because they hired a manager who could manage and did so with Texas again this year.

      • Oldtimer

        No such thing. Sparky had at least that many and won two with Reds.

        Baker will be in HOF. Price won’t ever. Nor will you.

        Some Reds “fans” are blivots. Not a typo.

      • Jedi Joey

        @Old Timer, you probably would do a better job of trying to convince others of your point if you would quit be condescending and insulting. Just a small suggestion from one RLN poster to another. To each his own though.

      • Old Big Ed

        LDS, as to “the number of these castoffs that wind up in Bell‘s starting lineups,” there were 5 guys (including Mark Reynolds’s one start) that qualify as a castoff picked up in the prior offseason. They are Kevin Newman (237 PAs, .689 OPS as a starter), Reynolds, Henry Ramos (81 PAs, .704 OPS), Nick Martini (62 PAs, .852 OPS), and Jason Vosler 58 PAs and .482 OPS).

        Together, they accounted for 442 PAs of the team total of 6,195 PAs, or 7%. This group collectively hit .236, as opposed to the team’s .249. Given that more than half of those PAs were by Newman, who generally was a pre-EDLC/McLain temp early in the season (he had 39 PAs after June 30), the production differed little from the non-castoffs.

        As to the Reds’ not having done anything offensively this offseason, NO TEAM has done anything this offseason, except that the Giants signed Jung Hoo Lee from Korea. Other than Lee, the Reds with Candelario have made the biggest new offensive signing of the offseason.

        There have been a handful of free-agents signing back with their most recent team: Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., Andrew McCutcheon and Jason Hayward. None of them had Cincinnati on their radar.

        There isn’t much out there, either. Bellinger will get a big contract, but not as much as Boras wants. Jorge is a DH and useless to the Reds, and both he and Teoscar Hernandez are inconsistent. There are no other available outfielders who figure to produce more than Jonathan India would as an outfielder and utility man.

        I’m not sure what you think that Krall can realistically do, even if he had a gun to his head demanding that he increase payroll to $30 million.

      • greenmtred

        LDS: The good young core got the lion’s share of the playing time once they were with the Reds and established (and not injured). We’ll have to see, but I expect that they will in 2024. I don’t have your level of pessimism about the three primary additions to the roster: I expect that they’ll contribute significantly but, again, we’ll have to wait and see.

  7. wolfcycle

    I agree with poster earlier, this guy is ending up in Louisville, maybe has some leadership qualities that can help with some of the younger guys. I could see Dunn and or Hinds up by mid season given that they stay healthy considering that seems to be the biggest factor holding them back. I know Hinds has some swing and miss to his game, but, I think that is slowly improving.

  8. AMDG

    The Reds likely needed a AAAA centerfielder to replace Siani.

    I assume this means Barrero is a shortstop for the Bats.

    • MBS

      Barrero is out of options, it’s Reds or Trade/DFA

      • AMDG

        I thought the ‘out of options’ only came into play if they called him back up to the major leagues? Because then, he would be out of options, and need to be waived or traded.

        But if he doesn’t make the Reds roster, can’ they just keep him in AAA until he would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft?

      • MBS

        “A player who is on the 40-man roster but does not open the season on the 26-man roster or the injured list must be optioned to the Minor Leagues.”

        From MLB.com

      • Doug Gray

        AMDG – he’s “in the big leagues” now. Everyone on the 40-man roster is “in the big leagues” from the time the season ends until the time the next season begins, unless they are optioned to the minor leagues during spring training.

        Barrero can’t be sent to the minors next season unless he is first designated for assignment and then clears waivers.

  9. MBS

    Also I’m not super good with the more technical roster rules, so anyone who has a better grasp please clarify.

  10. DataDumpster

    I still wouldn’t be “too” surprised if Krall pulls off some decent pitcher acquisition but just not of the names commonly mentioned. How about that Framber Valdez dude for example (or any of the others on the FA starter list that still hovers around 40).
    If not, we seem stuck in that familiar loop of the offseason when almost every tidbit of team “strategy” consists of “a minor league contract offer and invite to spring training.” Whereas we can look forward to all those guys getting most of the action in Arizona at the expense of needed preparation for the core players. Of course to be considerate of the ownership’s primary concern, I’m sure they must be calculating the probabilities and costs of keeping around our very inflated potential core in the next 4-6 years. So, I can’t be too opinionated on these matters but if the result is basically stand pat from here and give the familiar speech at the proper time, then I would rather see the Reds in 4th place instead of 2 games removed from the playoffs. I think they may need yet another year for the sorting although opportunity doesn’t regularly follows the best laid plans (especially for this franchise).

    • JayTheRed

      Assuming there are not a lot of injuries, which there will of course be some, I think the Reds will have a chance at the playoffs in 2024. I really think our year to really be improved is 2025. I have been saying this for 2 years now.

      This year we are really going to see which of these young players are going to stick and which ones are going to be just ok.