Reds sign World Series’ MVP Renteria to 1-year deal

Published 4:08 am Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Associated Press

CINCINNATI — World Series MVP Edgar Renteria decided to play one more year in a reduced role, trying to get the Cincinnati Reds back to the playoffs.

Renteria agreed to a one-year deal on Monday to back up Paul Janish at shortstop. The defending NL Central champions needed another shortstop to replace Orlando Cabrera, who left after the Reds declined to pick up his option.

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The Reds also signed left-handed-hitting outfielder Fred Lewis to a one-year deal, giving them a candidate to bat leadoff.

Renteria, who will turn 35 during the season, became a free agent after the Giants declined his $9.5 million contract option. His tiebreaking three-run homer off Cliff Lee helped the Giants win the World Series.

He considered retirement after his injury-filled season, which included three stays on the disabled list. He decided to play one more season for the Reds, in part because he’s familiar with general manager Walt Jocketty from their days in St. Louis.

“I think there’s a lot of things he does well,” Jocketty said in a phone interview. “Obviously he can still play and play at a high level. I think he’s got a charismatic personality. He’s just a fun guy to be around, but he also provides leadership.”

Cabrera and third baseman Scott Rolen were leaders on the young Reds, who reached the playoffs for the first time in 15 years before getting swept by Philadelphia. The Reds chose not to pick up Cabrera’s $4 million option for 2011.

Jocketty called Janish and reassured him that he’ll come to spring training as the starter. Janish was Cabrera’s backup last season, batting .260 in 82 games with five homers, 25 RBIs and one stolen base.

“Edgar was signed as a complementary player,” Jocketty said. “He can have a lot of different roles on our club, filling in at third from time to time.”

Renteria played in a career-low 72 games last season because of a strained groin that landed him on the disabled list twice and a strained left biceps that sidelined him for most of August.

“We checked him out pretty thoroughly today,” Jocketty said. “He’s healthy. That’s another reason why he’s not really looked into playing every day. We think we’ll be able to protect him from injury.”

Lewis batted .262 with Toronto last season, leading the club with 17 steals. His 31 doubles were third-most by an AL leadoff hitter.

Manager Dusty Baker used Cabrera, Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs in the leadoff spot last season. Lewis will get a shot at the job.

“Lewis is a guy who has experience leading off and has success at that,” Jocketty said.