The Reds have agreed to a minor league contract with Stephen Piscotty, according to his transactions log at MLB.com. The veteran outfielder was released by the A’s last week. He’s headed to Triple-A Louisville.
Cincinnati is the third career organization for the 31-year-old Piscotty. A Cardinals draftee, he spent the first three seasons of his big league career in St. Louis. Piscotty was a well above-average hitter for the first couple years of that stretch, earning a long-term contract extension heading into the 2017 campaign. He had his first below-average season that year, though. After the season, the Cardinals dealt the Bay Area native to the A’s — a move partly motivated by a desire to allow Piscotty to be closer to home while his mother battled ALS.
During his first season in green and gold, Piscotty posted arguably the best season of his career. He hit a personal-high 27 home runs and put up a .267/.331/.491 showing across 605 plate appearances. At age 27, he looked to have gotten back on track offensively, but he’s seen a marked dip in performance over the past four years. Going back to the start of 2019, Piscotty owns a .229/.287/.378 line in just shy of 900 plate appearances. He’s hitting .190/.252/.341 with a 34.5% strikeout rate over 42 games this year.
Those struggles led the A’s to move on from Piscotty last week. Oakland will remain on the hook for the rest of this season’s $7.25MM salary, and they’ll also have to pay a $1MM buyout on a 2023 club option. Cincinnati will only owe Piscotty the prorated portion of the $700K league minimum (which would be subtracted from the A’s obligations) should Piscotty play his way back to Great American Ball Park.
There’s no financial downside for the Reds in adding some extra outfield depth, as they’ve been platooning in both corners of late. The lefty-hitting TJ Friedl and Jake Fraley have gotten the stronger side of that arrangement, while Aristides Aquino and Stuart Fairchild are on hand as righty options. Aquino is hitting only .176/.236/.235 in 55 plate appearances this month, so Piscotty could be an option to supplant him in relatively short order if he gets on track with Louisville.