Reds' Derek Dietrich, who every MLB team passed on this offseason, hits three home runs in huge night vs. Pirates
The Reds got Dietrich on a minor-league deal on Feb. 19
Back on Nov. 20, 2018, the Marlins designated utility man Derek Dietrich for assignment. A few days later, the baseball world found out he had cleared waivers, so he hit free agency, where he sat for a long time. On Feb. 19, 2019, Dietrich signed a minor-league deal with the Reds.
In between all that, every single team had chances to acquire Dietrich very cheaply and didn't do it. For many, it was a big mistake.
Dietrich homered Monday and then three times on Tuesday, helping get the Reds to within three games of .500 (CIN 11, PIT 6). Here are the shots:
The shoulder shrug to the dugout! I'm having visions of MJ going nuts from beyond the arc, but we'll stick to baseball.
Dietrich is now batting .254/.364/.720(!) with 16 homers and 33 RBI on the season. Now, it must be said that the Reds play in a hitter-friendly park, but Dietrich is hitting .241/.384/.569 on the road which is perfectly palatable. He's played mostly second base and posted +1 defensive runs saved on the season from that spot, which isn't a great measure in a small sample, but the point is he hasn't been terrible. He can also play first base and the corner outfield positions and has played third before.
We can't guarantee Dietrich would be having this season elsewhere, but several teams look like they made a mistake in passing on him.
We can start with the Marlins, who, if they had kept him instead of cutting him to save a few million bucks, would likely have a very attractive trade candidate this July to help continue to stock their farm system.
The Cubs have gotten a .204/.277/.322 line from second basemen this season and signed Daniel Descalso (also a lefty that plays second) to a two-year, $5 million deal in an offseason when ownership said money was tight.
The Indians also had an offseason full of half-measures and have gotten terrible production from second base and all three outfield spots. Dietrich would've been a coup for them. Instead, they've already cut bait on the washed up versions of Carlos Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez.
Pirates fans hate him right now, but they definitely could've used Dietrich.
We could keep going, but those are a few of the glaring examples. Some of them can't really be blamed for not seeing this coming, but the Cubs and Indians in particular stand out to me as big whiffs.
As for the Reds? Good on them. They are going well and getting close to contention, too. Since they tied their season low of being seven games under .500 on May 8, they've gone 11-7. They shouldn't start looking at the wild card yet, but let's just say it's within striking range should they continue to play well.
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