Professional baseball remains in the cards for the Reno Aces’ Cody Decker.
Reno’s parent club, the Arizona Diamondbacks, re-signed Decker, a slugging first baseman, to a 1-year minor league successor contract. Heading into his 11th season, Decker, 31, has played 994 minor league games and laced 197 career homers.
Decker spent last offseason playing in Mexico, uncertain whether he would play again in the United States. Arizona picked him up on Feb. 22, 2017. The Aces are the 13th minor league team Decker has played with. Decker’s power at the plate was an immediate upgrade for the Triple-A Aces. In his first two games, he went 5-for-5 with three homers and five RBIs.
“I know that one of these days I am going to have to get a big boy job. But until then, I will play every game as if it were my last,” he said last season.
Decker finished the season with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 63 games. He also made four appearances as a relief pitcher, more out of the ordinary compared to his 26 starts at first base.
Decker will be welcomed back with open arms in Reno. He is fan favorite for his sense of humor and witty personality in the clubhouse. He says he has the best beard in the game. He also has a penchant for entertaining interviews.
“The fan base here has been good at tearing me to shreds,” he said when joined the Aces, a team he faced as an opposing player many times. “But I’ve buried the hatchet with (Aces’ mascot) Archie. We hugged it out. He used to stick his tongue out and he really did that to me a lot.”
Despite his amusing nature off the field, Decker has plans on making it back to the show. His last appearance in the majors came in 2015 with the San Diego Padres.
“It comes down to circumstances and luck,” he said. “I can play and I want to play. Anyone who lasts 10 seasons can play. I really want to prove a lot of people wrong. I know what I can do.”
Decker would have become a minor league free agent in November if he hadn’t re-signed with Arizona.
With Decker back into the fold, expect the Reno Aces to make some noise in the Pacific Northern Division. They make their regular season debut April 4, 2019 in a five-game homestand against the Fresno Grizzlies.
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training around Feb. 13, 2019.
— Isaiah Burrows