Outfielder Ben Revere is hoping to give the Cincinnati Reds a veteran presence on the bench to help them compete in the National League Central Division.
Revere also was in contact with the Braves and Giants the last couple of weeks before signing a minor-league deal with the Reds on Monday.
“This was the best opportunity to come in and make the ballclub,” Revere said. “I am definitely trying to make the ball club to have some veteran presence for the young guys and have them ready to go.”
Reds manager Bryan Price agreed.
“I seeing him coming in to compete,” he said. “I’ve seen him play. He isn’t a secret. He’s a well-versed baseball guy. We have four outfielders with a solid footing on the roster. He can offer a component that we may lack, speed off the bench. He is an experienced veteran pinch hit at bat and when he gets a start, he can continue to perform at a high level.”
Billy Hamilton, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker are favorites to make the team. Price would like to have a five-man bench that would allow him to carry a fifth outfielder.
Revere, a 29-year old from Lexington, Kentucky, broke in with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. He played for Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington and most recently the Los Angeles Angels.
Revere, a left-handed hitter with eight years in the big leagues, played with Cliff Pennington, who recently signed with the Reds.
“Cliff told me the Reds have some good young guns in the clubhouse,” Revere said. “Hopefully, we’ll make some noise this year with the players they have. The hitting they did last year was impressive. I’m here to bring some excitement to the clubhouse and help them make a run for the Central.”
With the Angels last season, Revere played in 109 games with a .275 batting average. He is known for his speed and his glove.
Revere led the National League with 184 hits in 2014 while stealing a career-high 49 bases for the Phillies. He stole 21 with the Angels last season. A career batting average of .284 with seven home runs and 198 RBI, he has a .344 on-base percentage and hit 37 career triples.
The market for free agents is down this year. Revere found job hunting to be tedious until the last two weeks.
“A bunch of guys are getting nervous, I’ll tell you that,” Revere said. “It is definitely crazy. There are many more out there to this day, great players. You could build an All-Star team with the many guys still out there.”
Revere has athletic genes. His father, Ben, was a wide receiver and punt returner at Eastern Kentucky University. He is an academics advisor for the athletic department and lives 30 miles from campus in Lexington.
“I have a lot of family and friends in Lexington,” Revere said. “They were all excited now I have to change my number.”
He will wear No. 2 for the Reds.
Nick Senzel, a third baseman, is getting a chance to play shortstop. He is a long shot to make the team unless an injury intervenes but the Reds are getting a good look at him.
“He’s made all the plays and looks comfortable at short,” Price said.
Sal Romano will make his second start on Wednesday against the Royals. Veteran left-hander Oliver Perez will make his first Reds’ appearance. Ariel Hernandez, Cody Reed, Kevin Quackenbush, Joe Matiply, Austin Brice and Kyle Crocket will also pitch.
Michael Lorenzen will start against the White Sox on Thursday. Brandon Finnegan will make his first Cactus League appearance. The Reds have been extra cautious with Finnegan, who is coming off an injury riddled 2017.