GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds hired a new manager and 10 coaches, rebuilt their starting rotation and brought in two big-hitting outfielders during the offseason.
On the day of their first Cactus League game, the Reds continued to shore up their bench.
The Reds signed shortstop Jose Iglesias to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training.
The 29-year-old Cuban native played in 125 games for Detroit last year, hitting .269 with five home runs and 48 RBIs. He became a free agent after the season.
“He provides great depth. He’s been a shortstop, he’s played second base, third base,” Reds manager David Bell said Saturday. “He’s been a successful major league player on really good teams. He brings experience of winning. If he makes the team, he will make us a deeper, better team.”
Bell made clear that Jose Peraza will be the Reds’ starting shortstop.
“Peraza has made great strides. We believe in what he’s doing,” Bell said. “We need to be as strong as we can with all 12 guys that make our team as position players.”
Iglesias signed with Boston in 2009 and made his big league debut in 2011. He was an All-Star in 2015, batting .300. He is a career .270 hitter in 656 games over a six-year career.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help this team be special this year,” Iglesias said. “I’d rather not talk about free agency. I just want to turn the page.”
It has been five years since Iglesias played any other position but shortstop. He played 37 games at third base and three games at second base for Boston in 2013.
The Reds brought in Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark and Alex Wood to retool the starting rotation. They added sluggers Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the outfield over the winter.
On Tuesday, the Reds signed Derek Dietrich. He and Iglesias will try to earn places on the Reds’ projected four-man bench.
“It is important to have depth. We have to be as strong as we can with all 12 guys who make the team as position players,” Bell said.
Being versatile will add to Iglesias’ chances of earning a job with the Reds.
“We will figure it out. At the end of the day it’s about helping the team win a game,” Iglesias said about changing positions.
“I spoke with David. I told him wherever you need me, I’ll be there for you. That’s the mindset to have right now,” he said.
Eugenio Suarez was coming up through the Detroit system while Iglesias was there. Iglesias would join fellow Cubans Raisel Iglesias and Puig in the Reds’ clubhouse, along with Odrisamer Despaigne, Vladimir Gutierrez and Alfredo Rodriguez who are non-roster players.
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