The Cincinnati Reds have officially signed outfielder Brennan Boesch after nearly a week of talk that he had signed with the team but no confirmation in the transaction page. It went up retroactively for a week ago.
The 29-year-old has big league experience but was given a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. He was essentially in the big leagues full time from 2010-2012, but has had had under 100 PA in each of the last two years in the big leagues. In 2010 and 2011 he hit .269/.330/.436 with 75 walks and 182 strikeouts in 984 plate appearances. The left hander has really struggled in the big leagues since, hitting just .237/.277/.376 with 30 walks and 132 strikeouts in 635 plate appearances. The walk rate was almost cut in half and the strikeout rate went up a little bit. That’s never a good combination.
There is some good news though. Boesch spent 95 games in the PCL with the Angels in 2014 and hit .332/.381/.636 with 25 doubles and 25 home runs. That’s a lot of power, but it’s also the PCL and the baseball flies out there. He did struggle a little bit with his aggressive approach though as he had just 29 walks and 86 strikeouts, which is one of the reasons he has struggled so much of late in the big leagues.
Once strange thing with Boesch is that in his big league career he’s a significantly better hitter against left handers than he is against right handers. He’s a .348 OBP guy against lefties and a .297 OBP guy against righties. In the minors for the 2014 season he had more success against righties, but still had plenty of success against lefties.
He played some center field in Triple-A this year but has been a corner outfielder in his big league career. He may be a bit of a left handed Chris Heisey who can’t play center or run as well. For a team that has plenty of power and not enough OBP, this move doesn’t get me too excited, but he does provide some depth for the bench.