Reds sign Mike Ford to a minor league deal

The Reds agreed to a minor league deal with their first baseman/designated hitter Mike Ford, Reports John Heyman of the New York Post. The ZS Sports client will make $1.3 million in the major leagues and can receive another $125,000 in incentives on the deal, which includes opt-out dates during spring training and during the regular season.

Ford, 31, posted tremendous numbers at power with the Mariners in 2023, slashing .228/.323/.475 with 16 homers in just 251 trips to the plate. This power was accompanied by an above-average walk rate of 9.6% but also an inflated strikeout rate of 32.3%. The former Yankee farmer has long had plus power and questionable contact rates, so the 2023 season was not out of the norm in that regard. However, last season also marked Ford's longest and most productive stretch in the major leagues. He had never even reached 200 plate appearances in a previous major league season.

The left-handed hitting Ford hasn't been allowed to face lefties much in his career, but he torched them in 24 games last year, actually performing better against fellow southpaws in his career overall. He only made 108 plate appearances, but he hit .268/.343/.577 against lefties compared to .200/.303/.389 against righties (in a much larger sample of 611 plate appearances).

Cincinnati already has more players than there are available bats — quite a lot Spencer Steer He will be moved to left field on a full-time basis in 2024. Even so, the Reds have done that Jimer Candelario, Jonathan India, Noelvi Marti, Eli de la Cruz, Matt McLean And Christian Encarnacion Strand In a line to rotate around the infield and around the DH spot. Ford gives Cincinnati a left-handed depth option who can handle first base or DH duty in the event of injuries or some regression from any of its promising young players. Right now, Candelario, Encarnacion Strand, and India are lined up to see the most action at first base and DH, but a strong spring could push Ford into the mix — or, given the spring opt-out date(s) in the deal, at least serve as An audition for another club looking for some left-handed hitters.

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