The Cincinnati Reds announced on Tuesday that they have signed infielder Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. to minor league deals for the 2021 season. Both deals also come with invitations to big league spring training.
We actually heard about the deal with Dwight Smith Jr. on Monday afternoon when Smith tweeted about the deal himself. The deal with Cheslor Cuthbert was new, though.
A former Top 100 prospect (#84 in 2012), Cheslor Cuthbert reached the big leagues in 2015 with the Kansas City Royals, playing in 19 games. In 2016 he returned as the mostly every day starter at third base and had what would be his best year in the big leagues as he hit .274/.318/.413 with 28 doubles, a triple, and 12 home runs. But over the next two seasons he only played in 58 and 30 games with the Royals as he struggled to reach the .600 OPS mark in both seasons. In 2019 he got into 87 games with Kansas City, hitting .246/.294/.379. He was non-tendered following the season and signed with the Chicago White Sox for the 2020 season. Cuthbert only played in one game during the season with Chicago – playing in the second game of a double header on July 26th, going 0-1.
With Dwight Smith Jr., he adds some minor league depth in the upper levels of the minor leagues at the outfield position. He has played in the Major Leagues in parts of the last four seasons. Only the 2019 season had Smith see prolonged playing time. He played in 101 games in 2019 for the Orioles, hitting .241/.297/.412 with 16 doubles, 3 triples, 13 homers, 26 walks, and 82 strikeouts in 392 plate appearances. Spread out over his other three seasons, the first two with Toronto and then in 2020 with Baltimore, he only racked up 29 plate appearances, 75 plate appearances, and 72 plate appearances. He’s a career .248/.310/.416 hitter in the big leagues.
The now 28-year-old outfielder has some pop in his bat. He’s spent most of his minor league career in left field, but does have some experience in both right field and center field. But at the big league level almost all of his playing time has been in left field, playing just 42 of his 1000+ innings in right or center.