Shin-Soo Choo got on-base at a ridiculous 42.3% rate during the 2013 season for the Cincinnati Reds, eventually garnering some down-ballot MVP votes before entering free agency for the first time. That came after the Reds issued him a qualifying offer, which he rightfully declined, and Choo went on to sign a massive 7-year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers later that winter.
Because of the declined QO, the Reds ended up with a compensation pick in the 2014 MLB Draft the following summer, one they used on Stanford infielder Alex Blandino with the 28th overall selection.
Blandino’s Reds career never truly blossomed, even though he excelled enough through the minor leagues that he eventually earned the chance to appear in 135 games at the big league level across a trio of seasons. He was eventually released by the Reds, picked up by the San Francisco Giants, dealt to the Seattle Mariners for former Reds draftee (and current Red) Stuart Fairchild, and released by the Mariners at the end of the 2022 season. He spent the 2023 season out of baseball altogether after representing Team Nicaragua at the World Baseball Classic, but is now officially back in the game - and back with the Reds.
Hat-tip to Gingersaurus Rex on Twitter for pointing out that Blandino is back with the Reds on a minor league deal. Joining him in re-joining the Reds is lefty Reiver Sanmartin, who was non-tendered earlier in the month while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The #Reds have signed INF Alex Blandino to a minor league contract, per the team’s minor league transaction page.— Gingersaurus Rex (@HeyGingersaurus) November 26, 2023
Blandino was the Reds’ first round pick in 2014. He played in 135 big league games with the club.
The #Reds have signed LHP Reiver Sanmartin to a minor league contract, per the team’s minor league transaction page.— Gingersaurus Rex (@HeyGingersaurus) November 26, 2023
Sanmartin was non-tendered by the Reds on November 17th.
Welcome back to a pair of old friends, even if neither is expected to make much of - if any - impact at the big league level in 2024.