Cincinnati Reds Dilson Herrera ready to challenge for playing time

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /

Following a pair of injury riddled seasons, Dilson Herrera is finally ready to produce for the Cincinnati Reds.

When the Cincinnati Reds traded Jay Bruce to the New York Mets, it was supposed to be for the second baseman of the future.  Dilson Herrera was supposed to be that man.  Instead, he saw his 2017 end due to injury.

Herrera hasn’t played a full season since 2014.  He played 146 games among two levels of the minors and the Mets.  He started in High-A and made his MLB debut later in the year,

In 2015 Herrera played a total 115 games among two minor league levels and the Mets.  His shoulder injury first appeared during this season.  It was also the last time that Herrera played in the big leagues.

In 2016 Herrera looked close to normal as he appeared in 84 games prior to the trade to the Reds.  Down the stretch, though, he only appeared in about half of the games for Triple-A Louisville.  Again the shoulder was to blame.

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Last season, Herrera was never right.  He could only DH in the World Baseball Classic and throughout spring training.  He only played in 68 games and just 58 of those were in the field for the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate in Louisville.

With the changing roster, Dilson Herrera is ready to be the back-up infielder for the Cincinnati Reds.

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Exactly one year after coming over to the Reds, Herrera underwent surgery to repair the injured shoulder.  Many bemoaned that Herrera would never get healthy.  The surgery accomplished the opposite, allowing Herrera to be healthy for the first time during his Reds’ career.

As a minor leaguer, Herrera was a second baseman.  He also played some third and a little short in the minors.  For the Reds he has focused on second, but also played a little at third.  That is likely Herrera’s role for 2017.

Recently, Scooter Gennett won his arbitration case.

That makes the left-handed hitting second baseman more expensive.  Making him more expensive means he will be a Red the entire season.

That is a positive for Herrera.  He should start every game against left-handed pitching.  If he is healthy, he will back-up both Gennett and third baseman Eugenio Suarez.  Easing back into the majors is the best solution for Herrera.

Next: The Reds should bring back veteran pitchers

The question once more is his health.  Early indications are that Herrera’s shoulder is 100%.  Now he just has to prove it on the field for the Reds.