The Cincinnati Reds and Mike Ford relationship is over. For now. For the umpteenth time. After signing Ford to a big league contract earlier in the month after deciding to allow him to become a free agent just a few days earlier, Cincinnati put Ford on the big league club and for the next three weeks he struggled at the plate, culminating in his being designated for assignment this past week. He cleared waivers today and the Reds outrighted him to the minor leagues, but Ford had the right to decline that outright and become a free agent. That’s the route that he took.

When Cincinnati signed Mike Ford in the offseason to a minor league deal he was viewed as depth with a chance to potentially make the club as a bench player who could fill in at first base or designated hitter. Ford was coming off a 16 home run season with Seattle while playing in just 83 games. He ultimately did not make the club out of spring training despite hitting .455/.486/.727 and he used the option in his contract to become a free agent.

After testing the waters he re-signed with the Reds on March 29th. In 24 games with Triple-A Louisville he hit .297/.381/.539 through the end of April. At that point he once again had the option in his contract to become a free agent if he had not been placed on the big league roster. He informed the Reds he would take that option if they didn’t call him up. They chose not to and he became a free agent. A few days later Christian Encarnacion-Strand was placed on the injured list and Cincinnati then signed Ford to a big league deal.

Despite somehow not being good enough to be on the club until Encarnacion-Strand got hurt, Ford hit 3rd or 4th in the Reds lineup in eight of his 15 starts. Ford was never able to get his bat going with the big league club as he hit just .150/.177/.233 with a triple and a home run before being designated for assignment.

21 Responses

  1. CI3J

    I’m expecting a lot less hand-wringing on RLN this time around.

    • RedBB

      I was one of them and admit I was completely wrong….plus it bugs me seeing position players that out of shape.

  2. Jimbo44CN

    Like so many other castoffs in the past, he didnt’ pan out. So many of them I can’t even remeber them all.

    • Votto4life

      May I remind you of Mr. Asdrubal Cabrera? He hit .077 for the Reds in 2021. He made Mike Ford look like Tony Gwynn.

  3. AllTheHype

    “Despite somehow not being good enough to be on the club until Encarnacion-Strand got hurt, Ford hit 3rd or 4th in the Reds lineup in eight of his 15 starts.”

    Mind boggling.

    • Erik the Red

      Totally agree. That many starts in the 3rd or 4th spot in the lineup was insane. He was never going to fix anything that this team needs.

    • Pat

      Well, David Bell is making out the lineup card!

  4. Harry Stoner

    Does this mean Ford walks away from the $1M+ contract he signed with the Reds a couple weeks ago?

    • Old Big Ed

      I had that same question. Per Cots (now owned by Baseball Prospectus), it seems like the Reds are off the hook: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/league-info/transactions-glossary/ – scroll about an inch down.

      I think that Ford’s contract paid him less, if he was on the 40-man roster but assigned to AAA. The CBA provides that a guy on the 40-man (like Rece Hinds) gets paid at least $120k in 2024, but it can be modified by contract, and often is for guys like Ford or Martinez, who may well be called up. It’s been reported that his contract was “guaranteed,” but I’m not sure what that means in this context; I think it means it was guaranteed, unless he opts out.

      So, I assume that Ford thinks he can get on somewhere else that would pay him more than the Reds would pay him the rest of the year, or that would give him a better shot at getting in some MLB time. The MLB Trade Rumors story noted that he could still come back to the Reds on a minor-league deal, but I doubt it.

      • MK

        Declining the assignment and becomming a free agent is different than opting out, though the result is the same. Two different areas in CBA.

      • Jim Walker

        @OBE>>> I agree that when Ford elected free agency over being outrighted his contract was voided, and the Reds owed him nada. What we do not know is how much of a signing bonus the Reds may have paid him to come back (in addition to MLB salary with the Reds) after he opted out of his original MiLB deal.

        For what it is worth, it looks like for MLB payroll purposes, Ford was paid $167,742 per Cot’s salary spreadsheet (line 54 on the link below).

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DARIEC-6fvXM1vCcLAC5U-pib5s0aMBGcqasDfBklmU/edit#gid=1520401900

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    I thought Ford could help the Reds offense especially with the pop he’d shown last year , ST and triple-A but he struggled completely. It seems better to him to accept being outrighted at Louisville since he cleared waivers on a S1+MM deal , however he didn’t think so and opted out…We’ll see if he is able to have a better deal

  6. RedBB

    Maybe lose some weight Ford…couldn’t hurt

    • Old Big Ed

      He’s a poor man’s Daniel Vogelbach.

  7. Mike Adams

    This is who we are.
    No hocus pocus but science and math and analysis.
    What you see is what you get. It will continue.
    As long as the players are happy and friends with the manager and getting paid it is all good.
    Wins and losses do not indicate how good the team is…..

  8. Chad A Donnell

    I blame the Reds for some of this. He was hot in AAA and then they shelve him for 10 days. He should have come up while he was hot.

  9. Pat

    Also no biggie that Mike Ford walked away. He looked like a Mike Moustakas clone!