Reds sign José Iglesias to minor league deal

Jose Iglesias
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The Reds picked up free agent infielder José Iglesias on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, per an official announcement. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com adds that Iglesias can earn up to $2.5 million in the majors, with another $1 million in bonuses if he reaches a certain threshold of games played in 2019.

The 29-year-old shortstop/third baseman is coming off of a six-year track in the Tigers’ system. He was laid up with repeated fractures in his shins and right middle finger during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, but made a full recovery and remained mostly healthy and productive in the years that followed. In 2018, he batted .269/.310/.389 with five home runs, 15 stolen bases (in 21 chances), and a career-best 2.5 fWAR across 464 PA, then saw his campaign cut short after sustaining an abdominal strain in late August.

Healthy or not, however, Iglesias isn’t guaranteed any kind of starting position with the club this spring. José Peraza is already penciled in as the Reds’ go-to shortstop in 2019, while Eugenio Suárez is currently poised to man the hot corner. According to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, manager David Bell stressed that no significant changes will be made to the starting lineup in light of Saturday’s signing; instead, Iglesias will be relegated to a bench role, provided he cracks the major league roster at all.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.