Cubs pick up Dietrich on Minor League deal

July 24th, 2020

CHICAGO -- was granted his release by the Reds this week, freeing him up to pursue a role with another ballclub with Opening Day nearing. The veteran second baseman decided to accept an opportunity offered by the Cubs.

On Thursday night, Dietrich agreed to a Minor League contract with Chicago, which officially announced the move on Friday morning. The Cubs also signed outfielder Ryan LaMarre to a Minor League contract and he was assigned (along with Dietrich) to the alternate training site in South Bend, Ind. Lefty Burl Carraway (2020 second-round MLB Draft pick) was also added to the South Bend group and the 60-man player pool (currently at 57).

"Excited to be a part of this historical organization!" Dietrich posted on Instagram on Thursday.

The 31-year-old Dietrich joined Cincinnati's Summer Camp on July 15, following a positive COVID-19 test earlier in the preseason. The infielder had no serious symptoms and had two negative tests at least 24 hours apart prior to being cleared to join the rest of the Reds players at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds granted Dietrich's request to be released on Monday, making him a free agent.

"He knew there was an opportunity here, but it wasn’t going to be from Opening Day," Reds manager David Bell told reporters on Monday. "We really believed that he needed a little bit more time than that. I’m happy for Derek, very happy for him. Really grateful for the relationship, personally, I was able to build with him. A good person, very good player. He became a big part of our team."

Dietrich has played mostly second base in his career, but the Cubs plan on having Jason Kipnis and Nico Hoerner split time there to start the season. Chicago also has utility man David Bote as depth at that spot, but it lost veteran Daniel Descalso (left ankle sprain) to the 45-day injured list on Thursday.

Dietrich, who also has experience at both infield corners and in left field, hits from the left side and set career highs in home runs (19) and slugging percentage (.462) in 2019. He hit .187 in 306 plate appearances last year, but he had a .338 on-base percentage and .491 slugging percentage against right-handers.

A left shoulder issue plagued Dietrich throughout '19, culminating in arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 27. Cincinnati removed him from its 40-man roster after last season before re-signing him to a Minor League contract on March 1 as a non-roster invitee.

"He'll definitely be missed," Bell said. "But I'm happy for him if he has another opportunity. He's definitely a Major League player."