When Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India was plucking around Plantation, Florida as a high school senior committed to play ball the following season for the University of Florida, the Gators were absolutely stacked. Their 2015 club eventually made it to the College World Series, finished with the top RPI rating in the country, and eventually sent the likes of AJ Puk, Pete Alonso, Harrison Bader, Dane Dunning, and Alex Faedo (among others) on to the professional ranks.
Infielder Richie Martin was one of their highly touted players that year, too, parlaying a season spent as the team’s shortstop into being a 1st round pick (20th overall) by the Oakland Athletics. While things haven’t exactly gone completely to play for Martin or Oakland in the years since then, however, Richie first cracked the big leagues with Baltimore in 2019 after being the 1st pick in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft and made appearances at the game’s highest level for the Orioles in each of the last two seasons, too. He was DFA’d near the end of the 2022 season, however, and reached free agency - a trip that ended today when he signed a minor league deal with the Reds that includes an invite to spring training.
Martin, now 28, is the owner of just a .572 OPS at the big league level in 447 PA. His AAA line, while better, is similarly uninspiring - .240/.336/.366 - though he’ll at least provide some depth in the middle infield at the upper-minors level while the Reds wait for their arsenal of shortstop prospects to advance there.
In a separate move, the Reds came to a similar agreement with lefty reliever Alex Young on Tuesday.
The 29 year old Westlake, Ohio native has pitched in the bigs with each of Arizona, Cleveland, and San Francisco since first reaching the game’s highest level during the 2019 season, and pitched ather well in 26.1 IP for the Giants last season (2.36 ERA, 2.89 FIP). He struck out just 21 against 11 walks, however, and his career 5.09 FIP suggests there was something that just happened to click in a small sample for him last season, a sentiment echoed by the Giants front office when they opted to non-tender him at season’s end despite that performance.
Young was actually more effective last season against RHP (.612 OPS) than against his fellow southpaws (.873 OPS), though his career splits have been quite the opposite. If he can find a way to get back to canning lefties, though, that’ll open a path to the big league roster for him given that the Reds don’t exactly have a wealth of options there in relief at the moment.