Well-traveled former top prospect Jake Bauers will get the opportunity to prove himself as a part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon relayed the news on Monday.
The Reds have signed former Cleveland 1B Jake Bauers to a minor league contract and invited him to big league camp— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) December 20, 2021
Bauers, now 26 years old, was a consensus Top 100 overall prospect as recently as 2018, and has been a key part of major trades including Wil Myers and Carlos Santana, respectively, so far in his professional career. A former 7th round pick by the San Diego Padres out of Marina High School (CA), he’s the owner of a .775 OPS in over 2600 minor league PA, though he has struggled significantly in big league stints so far with Tampa, Cleveland, and Seattle.
He’s now out of options, an administrative situation that put him firmly in the DFA/waiver shuffle last year, but was eligible to be signed during this MLB lockout since he finished the 2021 season while not a on a 40-man roster anywhere. So while he’s struggled in his limited big league action so far, perhaps there’s now a chance for him to settle into a AAA routine in 2021 in one organization without the optionless cloud of transaction purgatory hanging over his head again.
He’ll add to the 1B/OF depth in the system, too, with OF depth something of particular concern for the Reds at the moment (should they ever get back to baseball post-lockout in the first place).