Jose Garcia was the star of the Cincinnati Reds spring game on Tuesday. The young prospect illustrated why an upgrade at shortstop may be unnecessary.
Reds fans have been clamoring all winter for the front office to land a top-flight shortstop. Yesterday, we may have seen why Dick Williams and Nick Krall have been apprehensive to bet the farm on the likes of a player like Francisco Lindor or Corey Seager. Jose Garcia smacked two home runs during Tuesday’s spring game against the Los Angeles Angels.
The writing team at Blog Red Machine has invested some time over the past week investigating the Reds young shortstop prospect. Garcia landed highly in our rankings of potential players to man the shortstop position in 2021, and also found his way onto Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects for 2020.
Garcia started yesterday’s game at shortstop, a position that’s been void of the presumptive starter this spring, as Freddy Galvis is still nursing a sore shoulder. Kyle Farmer started the spring opener a few days ago. Garcia went 2-for-3, and those two hits were both solo shots over the left field wall.
A lot of fans have yet to hear the name Jose Garcia, but you better get used to it. An international signing back in 2017, Garcia was slowed by injury during 2018, but broke out in a big way in 2019. Just 21-years old, Garcia slashed .280/.343/.436 with eight homers, 37 doubles and 55 RBIs for Advanced-A Daytona last season.
Galvis has already laid claim to the starting job at shortstop this season, but he’ll be a free agent heading into next winter. Cincinnati’s use of Farmer at the position this spring has already raised questions, not just about this year, but beyond. Garcia may be the front office’s answer to those questions.
In no way should Garcia be considered MLB-ready this season. With only two seasons of professional baseball under his belt, the Cuban native needs at least one, and perhaps two more seasons in the minors before making the leap to the majors. However, having Garcia does extinguish the need for Cincinnati to go “all-in” on a premier shortstop.
I haven’t been opposed to the potential pursuit of Lindor and Seager this offseason. Both are fantastic options to play shortstop, and yes, both represent a better option than Galvis. That’s not a knock on the Reds shortstop, as I think Galvis will surprise a lot of folks this season. However, Seager is great and Lindor is in a class by himself.
But, while the idea of upgrading the shortstop position has merit, it would come with a pretty hefty price tag. The Indians have already expressed their desire to keep Lindor in Cleveland, but even if the Tribe were to consider trading the four-time All-Star, it would cost the Reds a lot.
First, Francisco Lindor is under contract for just two more years, becoming a free agent after the 2021 season. His salary for 2020 is $17.5M, and he’s likely to earn close to $25M through arbitration next year. So, in terms of salary of alone, you’re looking to dish out about $45M to Lindor over the next two years.
Add to that what a trade for the superstar shortstop would cost in terms of prospect and players, and you’re talking about an enormous investment. In exchange for Lindor, Cincinnati would likely have to surrender several former first-round picks such as Nick Senzel, Hunter Greene and/ or Nick Lodolo.
Senzel is an inexpensive player, under team control through 2025. Both Greene and Lodolo possess immense talent and could be huge parts of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation for years to come. Is it worth giving up on those types of players in order to land Francisco Lindor?
That’s the debate among a lot of Reds fans, and why Jose Garcia’s ability to reach his ceiling is so important. The young prospect has all the makings of a top-notch major league shortstop. Garcia received a non-roster invite to camp this spring, and if he keeps turning heads like he did on Tuesday, he has the potential to compete for the starting job next spring.