Cincinnati Reds: José García should be the Opening Day shortstop

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during a game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during a game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

If the Reds are looking to cut costs, then why not start José García?

So, I’m a bit confused. Earlier this offseason, it was reported that the Cincinnati Reds were targeting an everyday shortstop. Now, however, it appears that every significant player on the roster has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate. If the team is truly looking to cut costs, why not insert José García into the starting lineup on Opening Day?

I’ll be the first one to admit that García’s bat is not ready for the major leagues and the 22-year-old could certainly use some extra seasoning in the minor leagues, but what have you got to lose? To be honest, does anyone really know what the minor league season will look like next season?

García made his big league debut last season after it appeared Cincinnati was out of the playoff hunt. The Reds rallied late during their 2020 campaign and netted the No. 7 seed in the expanded MLB Playoffs. Cincinnati’s first trip to the postseason since 2013 ended with a thud as the Reds lost to the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card Series without scoring a single run.

García made one appearance in the playoff series with the Braves and did not record a hit. On the season, the rookie slashed .194/.206/.194 in 67 at-bats. So, if offense is the problem, why in the world should the Reds entertain the notion of entering the 2021 season with an unproven shortstop who barely hit his weight last season?

For starters, if going with a low-cost option at shortstop increases the likelihood that Cincinnati’s front office decides not to trade Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Mike Moustakas, or Eugenio Suárez, sign me up. All four stars have been mentioned this offseason as possible casualties of the Reds desire to cut payroll.

José García can play the shortstop position. The youngster has all the tools defensively to be an elite-level shortstop for the next 10 years. According to MLB Pipeline, García is a plus-defender with a plus, plus-arm.

Furthermore, if you’re the Cincinnati Reds front office, why not just let García bat in the No. 8 hole and take his lumps. I’m pretty sure Billy Hamilton never merited a spot on a big league roster based on his batting average, but his speed and defense kept him in Cincinnati for 690 games over six seasons.

While some fans would argue that the Reds need another bat, I’d say that’s a load of hogwash. The bottomline is, the four free agents whom the Reds signed last offseason didn’t play up to their potential.

Nick Castellanos looked like the MVP over the first two weeks, then fizzled out. Moustakas and Wade Miley couldn’t stay on the field, and Shogo Akiyama was slow to start in his first season in the majors.

If Castellanos, Moustakas, and Akiyama play up to their potential, there’s no need to add an extra bat to the Cincinnati lineup. We all know what Suárez is capable of, and we’re still waiting for Nick Senzel to meet the lofty expectations that come with being a former first-round pick. Also, the dismissal of Curt Casali clears the way for Tyler Stephenson to get more reps behind the plate.

So, would it really be the worst thing in the world to go into the 2021 season with José García as the team’s starting shortstop? If it means that we can get past these silly rumors of shipping off Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo, I’m all for it.

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Inserting José García as the Reds starting shortstop and sending out Gray and Castillo every fifth day gives Cincinnati a much better chance to win than if the two right-handers are playing elsewhere next season. Nick Krall needs to stop chasing the likes of Marcus Semien and Didi Gregorius and realize that the future is now.