Reds sign OF Jennings to Minors deal

Reds sign OF Jennings to Minors deal

CINCINNATI -- The Reds completed a deal to add bench depth Thursday, agreeing to terms with veteran outfielder Desmond Jennings on a Minor League contract with a Major League Spring Training invite.

If he makes the team, Jennings will earn $1.5 million and can earn up to an additional $1 million in incentives for games played. He can opt out of the contract at the end of Spring Training should he not earn a spot on the club.

The addition of Jennings will give the Reds 63 players in camp, which opens Monday in Goodyear, Ariz., with the reporting of pitchers and catchers.

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Jennings, 30, spent all seven of his Major League seasons with the Rays and is a career .245/.322/.393 hitter with 55 home runs in 567 games. A right-handed hitter, he has better splits against lefty pitchers over his career, with a .264/.346/.431 line vs. a .237/.313/.378 line against right-handers.

The most productive years for Jennings in Tampa Bay came from 2012-14, when he averaged 131 games per season, hit 37 homers and had 66 steals over the three seasons. In 2012, according to Fangraphs, he had a career-best 3.3 WAR (wins above replacement).

Injuries ate away at Jennings' production the past couple seasons. In 2015, he was limited to 28 games because of left knee injuries and later a tooth infection that ended his season. In '16, he was bothered by a left knee contusion and a hamstring injury, playing in just 65 games.

Jennings batted .200/.281/.350 in 2016 with seven homers and 20 RBIs before he was released on Aug. 26.

The Reds don't have many veteran contenders for bench spots this spring, leaving Jennings with a good chance to make the team.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.