What will the Reds do when Jose Garcia is ready for the big leagues?

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds plays defense at shortstop. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds plays defense at shortstop. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

There isn’t much doubt that Jose Garcia will be the starting shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds in the near future. After spending time with the big league club last summer, it is expected Garcia will begin the 2021 season at Double-A Chattanooga. The question then becomes, what will the Reds do with Eugenio Suarez once Garcia is promoted to the major leagues?

Suarez was moved to shortstop this spring and has started nearly every game so far in2021. While his bat has currently been lagging, Geno is a key piece of this Cincinnati Reds team. Kyle Farmer and Alex Blandino can also field the position, but for now, shortstop belongs to the Reds former starting third baseman.

What happens to the Reds roster when Jose Garcia is ready for the bigs?

Farmer and Blandino could both be considered fringe players whose roster spots are not secure lonngterm. Blandino has struggled to stick at the big league level since getting an extended chance in 2018, and Farmer did get extended reps at shortstop this spring, but don’t look for him to block Garcia at the major league level.

Suarez, who’s struggled out of the gate in 2021, both at the plate and at his new position, was in trade rumors this offseason. However, Suarez is under contract with the Reds through 2025, with a relatively inexpensive price tag. Longterm, I think it’s more than likely that Eugenio Suarez return to the hot corner.

Mike Moustakas, who’s in the midst of a four-year/$64M pact he signed with the Reds in last offseason, was shifted to third base this spring which allowed Jonathan India taking over second base. Moustakas has the flexibility to play second, third and even first base, as we saw Moose give Joey Votto a couple days off here and there in 2020.

Jose Garcia is going to force his way into the lineup if he produces at the plate. I expect him to hit Southern League pitching well and move up to Triple-A Louisville rather quickly. By the end of the year, Garcia will find his back in the bigs, most likely as a reserve. Next season, I expect Garcia to be the Reds Opening Day starter and Suarez will either be moved back to third base or traded.

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The best thing Reds fans could hope for is the return of the universal DH, which we saw during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Moustakas could become the Reds’ primary designated  and fill in all over the infield, subbing for Suarez (3B), India (2B), and Votto (1B), allowing Jose Garcia to be Cincinnati’s everyday shortstop.