Cincinnati Reds: José García’s promotion signals a sense of urgency

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 28: Jose Garcia #83 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 28: Jose Garcia #83 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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The Reds have called up their top shortstop prospect José García.

The Cincinnati Reds front office made a bold move on Wednesday afternoon and promoted shortstop prospect José García to the 40-man roster. To make room, the Reds reinstated Pedro Strop from the 10-day injured list and designated the reliever for assignment. Travis Jankowski was sent to the alternate site.

This shocking news came across the wire just before 5 PM. Not only was García called up the majors, but he was scheduled to make his big league debut last night at Miller Park before the postponement of the Reds game versus the Brewers. Expect to see García in the lineup today when Cincinnati plays a doubleheader against Milwaukee.

García had a heckuva run during Cincinnati’s spring training before Cactus League play was shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. During his first stint at Goodyear, García slashed .269/.300/.769 with four home runs and seven RBIs. The 22-year-old ranks No. 6 in Cincinnati’s farm system according to MLB Pipeline.

José García had always been a well-regarded fielder with a plus-arm that is more than capable of manning the shortstop position. At Advanced-A Daytona last season, García hit .280/343/.436 with eight home runs and 55 RBIs.

García’s promotion comes on the heels of Cincinnati dropping four of their past six games and falling out of the postseason picture. The Reds 11-17 record put them just above the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League and six games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs. However, the Reds sit just a few games of the final playoff spot in the NL.

Fans have been pleading with the players, coaches and front office to show a sense of urgency and this a step in the right direction. According to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, García will be the team’s starting shortstop going forward with Freddy Galvis earning an occasional start and playing different spots in the infield.

The demotion of Travis Jankowski also shows the organization is moving in the right direction. Jankowski should never have kept a roster spot as long as he did. The outfielder offered one solid attribute; speed. However, with the Reds lack of base runners, it wasn’t as if he was getting the opportunity to utilize his best asset anyway.

It was a bit surprising to see Cincinnati move on from Pedro Strop so quickly. Granted, especially in a pandemic-shortened season, there was a lot monetarily invested in the right-hander. The ascension of Lucas Sims to one of the best arms in the bullpen likely added to the front office’s decision as well.

If the Cincinnati Reds are serious about shaking things up, the next step would be promoting Tyler Stephenson to the big leagues. Though Tucker Barnhart is signed through next season, the 29-year-old backstop is hitting just .174 this season with an OPS+ of just 37.

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The question now surrounding the Reds may be the timing of this move. Is calling up José García at this point in the season too little, too late? Time will tell, but this is step in the right direction and a stark contrast from the way this organization usually does business.