GOODYEAR, Ariz. — When the Reds signed Jordan Pacheco, the natural assumption was they were doing so for insurance at catcher, with Devin Mesoraco coming off major surgery.
But Reds manager Bryan Price sees Pacheco as a candidate to fill one of the bench roles. Pacheco has been taking balls as an infielder as well as catching.
“I’m pretty comfortable around the infield,” Pacheco said. “I’ve done it the last three years. I’ve gotten accustomed to it. It’s a part of me now. I’ve embraced it. I enjoy doing it. It’s a good role.”
Pacheco, a 30-year-old right-handed hitter, has seen time in the majors at catcher, first base, second base, third base and left field. He’s a five-glove guy once the season starts.
“Regular season, I have them all,” Pacheco said. “My outfield, my two infield, my catching glove, my first base glove.”
He’s probably fourth on the catcher depth chart behind Mesoraco, Tucker Barnhart and Ramon Cabrera.
Pacheco’s bat will likely determine whether he makes the team.
“If he could give us a reliable bench bat, a guy that could give us a boost every now and again with a handful of starts and give us that flexibility on the days Devin is not catching, it’s nice to know you have a guy that can catch if I choose to pinch-hit with Devin in a big moment,” Price said. “A fall back-catcher is a luxury, but it’s nice to have.”
Pacheco wouldn’t make it strictly as a third catcher. But Price would like someone with Pacheco’s versatility.
Pacheco was a ninth-round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2007. He was drafted as a second baseman. He moved to catcher his second year as pro.
He made it to the big leagues in the 2011. In 2012 — his rookie year — he hit .319 with five home runs and 54 RBI in 475 at-bats.
He was claimed by Arizona off waivers in June of 2014. He split last year between the D-Backs and Triple-A. He hit .242 with two home runs and eight RBI in 66 at-bats with Arizona.
The Reds signed him as a minor league free agent.
“Obviously, you want general interest,” Pacheco said. “They were interested in me. It’s a young team. There are a lot of guys I can help with their career. That’s what I saw. And I saw an opportunity to make this team and be part of something from the start.”
Sounds like there’s a chance he will be.