The Cincinnati Reds have claimed first baseman Kennys Vargas from the Minnesota Twins. That leaves the Reds with one open spot on the 40-man roster. As I wrote earlier today, those roster spots could be quite valuable depending on what the organization wants to do with several other veterans that are in camp with theĀ  big league team that are on Minor League deals.

In the 2017 season Kennys Vargas split the year between Triple-A and the Major Leagues with the Minnesota Twins. In the minors he hit .253/.360/.461 over 211 plate appearances. With the Twins in the Major Leagues he hit .253/.314/.444 across 78 games and 264 plate appearances.

Kennys Vargas has never spent a full season in the Major Leagues, but has seen time up with the Twins in every season since 2014. For his career he’s hit .252/.311/.437 with 38 doubles and 35 home runs in 859 plate appearances. There’s some good power in his bat, though it was down a little bit in 2017. Where he’s struggled, particularly in the Majors, is making contact. He’s struck out 251 times with the Twins in his career. That’s a 29% strikeout rate. As a switch hitter, that problem sticks with him from both sides. Historically he’s been a better hitter from the right side of the plate.

Where does Kennys Vargas fit in with the Reds?

It appears that Kennys Vargas is out of options and will have to stick to the Major League roster. That in itself makes the move very interesting for the Reds. Vargas is listed at 6′ 5″ and 290 lbs. He’s only played first base in the Majors, and at that size, assuming that it’s accurate, then there’s no reasonable expectation that he could play elsewhere. That would mean that he would essentially be a pinch hitter, or designated hitter in interleague games. Tough to see how that fits well on the Reds roster. Though, perhaps this is one of those moves where the organization is going to immediately try to put him through waivers and outright him to the minors and keep him in the organization.

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18 Responses

  1. Hoyce

    Insurance policy for a votto injury. Will try to sneak him thru waivers. Won’t happen. Nothing gained nothing lost

    • Champ Summers

      exactly. Worth a shot. Dodgers used this strategy effectively with Reds put on waivers a few years back. By effective I mean they put in a claim and waived them and were able to keep them in AAA. Vargas should get claimed.

  2. Michael Parker

    Even if this is just an insurance/waiver wire game how does it effect our waver position for the next one may we really may want? I mean, does this mean we fall to the bottom of the wire since we used a waiver?

  3. The Duke

    If we can sneak him through waivers, then Louisville has their 1B for this year. If now, who cares?

  4. Daytonian

    If we keep him as a pinch hitter, this puts a premium on also keeping a multi-position player like Blandino, as opposed to a one-dimensional backup shortstop.

  5. AirborneJayJay

    Surely this isn’t about a bench spot. It doesn’t appear as the Reds made this move with a trade in mind. The Twins couldn’t trade him. Try to slip him thru waivers again is about all it could be.

  6. MK

    A minor League replacement for Jagielo?

    Happens each Spring. It was tried unsuccessfully last year with Christian Walker

  7. Kindell

    I really only like this move if we can sneak him through waivers. I just don’t like guys on the bench that do not have position flexibility. He is also obviously limited to PH because you can’t have him run for anyone.

  8. Brad

    Im a fan of Vargas as a PH/bench piece. Especially with 4 OF rotation and a guy like Blandino needing ABS plus Mesoraco. Have Vargas fill last bench role as a SH power bat or send him through to AAA.