Reds sign two pitchers, catcher to minor deals Doug Gray January 8, 2017 12 Comments The Cincinnati Reds haven’t been too active in signing big leaguers this offseason. They have signed plenty of guys to minor league deals, though. They picked up two more pitchers and a catcher on minor league deals. Cincinnati signed right hander Deunte Heath to a minor league deal. The now 31-year old has pitched world wide. He’s gotten to the big leagues in two seasons, though only for a combined 9.2 innings. Those innings were tough, posting a 10.24 ERA with 13 walks and four strikeouts. That came in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 he split time in Triple-A and then headed to Japan where he pitched well in two seasons, posting a 2.37 ERA in 91.1 innings with 39 walks and 94 strikeouts. In 2016 he pitched in the Mexican League for two teams, posting a 3.11 ERA. In those 46.1 innings he had 11 walks and 51 strikeouts. The Reds also picked up right hander Geoff Broussard. The now 26-year-old has never pitched in the big leagues, topping out in Triple-A. In 2016 he was with the Angels organization and struggled in Double-A and Triple-A. Between the two stops he had a 6.50 ERA in 62.1 innings. He walked 25 batters and had 64 strikeouts. That walk rate is close to bad, but workable. The strikeout rate was strong. We do need to note though that he was strong in bother areas in Double-A than Triple-A. The biggest problem in 2016 though was that he allowed 13 home runs, far and away his highest home run rate allowed in his career. It was more than twice his previous high in homers allowed per 9-innings pitched. The final signing for this period was catcher Adrian Nieto. The 27-year-old switch hitter saw big league action with the White Sox in 2014, hitting .236/.296/.340 in 118 plate appearances. He hasn’t been back to the big leagues since then. In 2015 he went back to Double-A and in 2016 he spent all of the season in Triple-A. He’s really struggled with the bat since 2013 ended. After that season in Advaned-A the White Sox selected him in the Rule-5 Draft. The Cuban born player hit .285/.373/.449 for Potomac in 2013, but the jump to the Majors the next year proved to be too much, even though he stuck with the team all season long. His bat never recovered as he hit .207 in Double-A during 2015 and just .195 in Triple-A during 2016. He missed the final seven weeks of the Triple-A season. 12 Responses DHud January 8, 2017 Not really getting a warm and fuzzy about any of these signings Michael January 8, 2017 Seems like organization filler. Gaffer January 8, 2017 Or some other kind. Greenfield Red January 8, 2017 I don’t mind these kind of signings at all to try to fill the ML roster in a year when the Reds are not expected to compete. In fact, I prefer this route to the signing expensive reclamation projects. In calendar year 2016, in the rebuild, the Reds added Senzel, Gutierrez, Rodriquez, Trammel, Okey, Herrera, Friedl, Wotell, Hanson, and Hendrix and others who could be major leaguers some day. But there are two problems. First, they left opportunities on the table. If a team is trying to build or rebuild from the ground up, it needs lots and lots of potential prospects to find the few who will really make a difference. They left too much out there (international free agents, botched trades, trades that didn’t get done) to maximize the opportunities in 2016. They didn’t get the ZC trade done at the deadline. They should have been more active in the international market. Second, there will not be as many opportunities going forward. They are pretty much frozen out of the international market for the next couple of years. They don’t have near-to-be free agents to trade away (ZC being the exception), and they are unlikely to find another Friedl situation where a player falls into their laps. The draft position is good, but that’s about it for 2017. I just think if you’re going to rebuild, you have to go all in. Filling the roster with players like those signed yesterday is good in a year the Reds aren’t expected to compete in my opinion. Better than the pitcher signed earlier in the week (I have not problem with him, but I think the money could have been better spent). There, I got it off my chest. Gaffer January 8, 2017 Blame Castellini, he didn’t want to commit. This all started way back in 2013 offseason. Coming off the collapse in Pittsburgh they knew they could not sustain the roster. 2014 was disappointing but 2015 was totally not surprising. Instead of knowing when to play your cards, we kept depreciating assets. Norwood Nate January 8, 2017 These kinds of signings happen every year. You hope to catch lightning in a bottle every once in a while, or at least fill a few gaps in the minors so you don’t rush other prospects before their ready. This is how I’d hoped the Reds would address their catcher insurance from the beginning. Sign a minor league FA or two and let them get ready to be called on if Mes can’t catch. Doug Gray January 8, 2017 Yep. Every team in baseball signs these kinds of guys. I’d bet at least one of these guys doesn’t make it through spring training before being released. But, you take a chance, see what’s there. DaveCT January 8, 2017 In 2017, you’d be almost remiss not to have a Spanish speaking catcher to help out with the young Latino arms. Nieto’s story is compelling, too, coming to America from Cuba on a raft at eight years old. Personally, I hope the Reds remain something of a beacon to players like this. Especially with arms like Chapman’s, savvy like Raisel, or five very loud tools. MK January 8, 2017 Seems like there is a lot of movement of players between the Reds and Angels. Krozley January 8, 2017 One thing interesting about Heath is that he was drafted four consecutive years by four different teams. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before. Michael B. Green January 8, 2017 Congrats to all of these guys on the opportunity. Anyone who has ever played the game and loves the game appreciates each and every opportunity regardless of age, reputation or outlook. MK January 9, 2017 Nieto has a 50 game steroid suspension on his record.