Josh Harrison has signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds. The club made it official on Tuesday afternoon. The deal includes an invitation to big league spring training with the Reds. Mark Sheldon of Reds.com reported that the deal could be worth $1,500,000 if he makes the team. Sheldon also reported that Harrison has an opt-out on March 21st.
Josh Harrison is from Cincinnati, grew up in town and went to Princeton High School as well as the University of Cincinnati before he was drafted in the 6th round by the Chicago Cubs back in 2008. He joins his older brother Vince Harrison in the organization, who is now the manager of the Reds High-A affiliate the Dayton Dragons.
Over the last 13 seasons, Harrison has seen action in the big leagues. From 2011 through 2018 he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates where he made two All-Star teams (2014 and 2017). After leaving Pittsburgh he’s made his way around the league, spending time with the Detroit Tigers (2019), the Washington Nationals (2020-2021), the Oakland Athletics (2021), Chicago White Sox (2022) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2023).
From 2019-2022 he put up a solid, but unspectacular .258/.319/.374 line in 326 games. That wasn’t quite as good as when he was with the Pirates, but solid enough. Things did not go his way in the 2023 season, though. He only played in 40 games with the Phillies and he hit just .204 with three walks (.263 on-base percentage), and he slugged just .291. His.554 OPS and his 53 OPS+ were only better than his 2019 season when he played in 36 games with the Tigers and were well below his career numbers of a .712 OPS and a 95 OPS+.
Defensively there’s a lot of ways that Josh Harrison can help out. In the last two seasons he has played every spot on the field except catcher, center field, and first base. He’s even pitched in five games during that time.
If Harrison is going to make the team he’s going to have to hit better than he did last year. But if he can do that, then he could fill out the Reds bench and pretty much be available to play anywhere asked of him and bring experience in filling out that kind of role.
With an opt-out on March 21st, spring training won’t be over and the club would still have four games remaining in Arizona before coming back to Cincinnati to open up against the Nationals.