Reds sign Fred Lewis to a one-year contract

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The Reds have signed outfielder Fred Lewis to a one-year contract, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that he’ll make a $900,000 base salary, plus incentives.

Lewis was non-tendered by the Blue Jays in December after batting .262/.332/.442 with eight home runs, 36 RBI, 17 stolen bases and a 745 OPS over 480 plate appearances last season. The 30-year-old outfielder has a .272/.348/.418 batting line over parts of five seasons in the big leagues.

Lewis drew a considerable amount of interest this winter as a potential fourth outfielder, but it will be interesting to see how he is utilized by Dusty Baker. Lewis has a 796 OPS against right-handed pitching during his career, so there’s a chance he could find himself in a left field platoon with Jonny Gomes, who traditionally enjoys more success against left-handed pitching.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.