There was a little speculation that the Cubs might be interested in the versatile Derek Dietrich following his release by the Reds, and that ended up being accurate. As Dietrich announced via Instagram Thursday night, he has indeed signed with the Cubs.
“Next Chapter⚾️!,” reads the caption. “Excited to be a part of this historical organization!! Go Cubs Go!”
The 31-year-old Dietrich is one of those players you love to hate when he’s on another team, but he seems to be a fan favorite when he’s on your team. Cubs fans may remember the play in 2018 when Dietrich, then with the Marlins, came in high at the plate and trucked Victor Caratini. Both Marlins fans probably loved it.
Dietrich is an above-average offensive producer with a suspect glove he’s a gritty dude with an attitude who either gets under your skin or pumps you up. He can also play all over the field, though he’s not particularly adept at any one spot.
The Cubs aren’t exactly in need of infield help at this point, but it’s a weird season and you never know what could happen. That Dietrich was even available in the first place is a little bit odd, though he was only on a minor league deal and had missed most of summer camp due to a positive coronavirus test, plus the Reds spent a lot of money getting younger and more talented this winter.
There’s also the matter of Dietrich’s horrific production after May last season, which is the reason he wasn’t signed to a big league deal this past winter. After slashing .260/.366/.707 with a .426 wOBA and 163 wRC+ over 145 plate appearances through May, he went .117/.294/.227 with a .250 wOBA and 48 wRC+ over his final 161 PAs. He had 17 homers in that first sample, 12 in May alone, then hit two the rest of the way.
At the very least he gives the Cubs a little depth at South Bend and brings them up to 54 players officially in the 60-man player pool.