DeShields refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Louisville and is now a free agent, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. He logged an .801 OPS in 25 games with the Reds last season and will seek to keep his options open this offseason. There probably won't be a big-league deal waiting for him, but he may find a non-roster invitee deal in a situation he likes.
DeShields was outrighted to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. DeShields appeared in 25 games with the Reds in 2021 and slashed .255/.375/.426 with a home run, six RBI, four runs and two stolen bases. However, he'll be cast off the 40-man roster heading into the offseason.
DeShields went 2-for-2 with a run scored and three walks in Sunday's 9-2 win over the Nationals. DeShields drew a walk in each of his first three plate appearances before poking two singles, including an eight-inning base hit before he came around to score. The veteran outfielder has gone 5-for-8 (.625) over his last six appearances, bringing his average up to .273 through 33 at-bats. He only has two stolen bases in 20 big-league games this season.
DeShields is out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Pirates. Though top center fielder Tyler Naquin (ribs) remains on the bench for the third game in a row, DeShields will drop out of the lineup and give way to Shogo Akiyama. Based on his usage since being added to the active roster Sept. 1, DeShields looks to be the Reds' fourth outfielder ahead of Aristides Aquino and Akiyama, but the 29-year-old hasn't done much with his opportunities thus far. In 10 games with Cincinnati, DeShields has gone 4-for-19 (.211 average) with two doubles, three RBI, zero runs and zero steals.
The Reds selected DeShields' contract from Triple-A Louisville ahead of Wednesday's doubleheader with the Cardinals. One day after acquiring him from Boston, Cincinnati will add DeShields to its 40-man roster and 28-man active roster, giving the team an additional body in the outfield for the final month of the season. Though Jesse Winker (intercostal) remains without a clear timeline to return from the injured list, the Reds are expected to rely largely on a platoon of Max Schrock and Aristides Aquino to replace him in left field. DeShields will most likely function as a late-inning defensive replacement and the team's top pinch-running threat off the bench. He slashed a pedestrian .252/.385/.366 in 381 plate appearances at Triple-A this season, but the 29-year-old continued to flash some impressive wheels with a 21-for-24 success rate on steal attempts.