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Pacheco's versatility could earn him roster spot

MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With the youth movement en vogue on the Reds this year, the club did not make many expenditures for well-known or well-traveled veterans seeking complementary roles on the 25-man roster. In recent years, especially, Cincinnati has often brought in players like Skip Schumaker, Kevin Gregg, Jason Marquis, Roger Bernadina or Brennan Boesch. Not this year.

One of the rare exceptions in 2016 is Jordan Pacheco, a former D-backs and Rockies player who was signed to a Minor League deal with Cincinnati on Jan. 15. Pacheco could have a leg up on the competition, because he's a utility player whose list of positions includes catcher.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With the youth movement en vogue on the Reds this year, the club did not make many expenditures for well-known or well-traveled veterans seeking complementary roles on the 25-man roster. In recent years, especially, Cincinnati has often brought in players like Skip Schumaker, Kevin Gregg, Jason Marquis, Roger Bernadina or Brennan Boesch. Not this year.

One of the rare exceptions in 2016 is Jordan Pacheco, a former D-backs and Rockies player who was signed to a Minor League deal with Cincinnati on Jan. 15. Pacheco could have a leg up on the competition, because he's a utility player whose list of positions includes catcher.

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"And [he could] be a more experienced guy that can come in and give us a good at-bat off the bench," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Catchers Devin Mesoraco and Tucker Barnhart are expected to make the team, with Ramon Cabrera vying to be a third catcher. Mesoraco is coming back from hip surgery, and he could need breaks more than occasionally this season. Pacheco offers the security of the third catcher, but he has also played left field, right field and every infield spot except for shortstop.

"There are not a lot of clubs that have someone like that, who can be a utility player and also not just go back there, but go back there and give you a good effort behind the plate," Price said. "That part of it is a luxury and a bonus, but his experience and savvy at the plate as a bench player, I think, really bodes well for his chances to compete all the way down to the wire for a spot on the club."

Pacheco, 30, has spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues, with his best year coming in 2012. In a career-high 132 games for Colorado, he batted .309/.341/.421 with five home runs and 54 RBIs. He hasn't come close to that type of production since.

Last season for the D-backs, Pacheco batted .242/.333/.333 with two homers in 29 games before he was designated for assignment. After being sent outright to Triple-A Reno, he batted .205/.297/.323 in 58 games.

Pacheco liked the opportunity with the Reds, and there was mutual interest in the offseason.

"It's a young team. There are a lot of guys I can help with their career," Pacheco said. "That's what I saw. And I saw an opportunity to make this team and be part of something from the start. I know we're rebuilding here. That's something I want to be part of."

Video: ARI@COL: Pacheco makes barehanded grab on a foul tip

Pacheco was drafted as a second baseman and picked up catching during his second professional season in 2008. Of his 273 career big league games, 59 have been at catcher. While he knows his versatility can help his chances, Pacheco is also realistic.

"It's how you perform on the field," Pacheco said. "That's the main goal. If you can help the team win, that's what the coaching staff sees, that's what the team sees, it works out well."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Cincinnati Reds