Reds: With Mike Moustakas on the IL, Tyler Stephenson should start at 1B

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Tyler Stephenson (37) receives a throw for an out.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Tyler Stephenson (37) receives a throw for an out. /

With Mike Moustakas hitting the injured list with a heel contusion, the Cincinnati Reds have now lost their starting first baseman (Joey Votto), and their backup. Though he got the start behind the dish today, catcher Tyler Stephenson should be getting the lion’s share of starts at first base until Votto or Moose return.

The Reds recalled Max Schrock to take Moustakas’ spot on the active roster, but perhaps they should’ve brought up Beau Taylor to act as Tucker Barnhart’s backup. While Stephenson just started his first game at first base on Wednesday, his bat is a much better option than Alex Blandino or Kyle Farmer.

Tyler Stephenson could be the Reds best back up at first base.

Joey Votto has two-plus years remaining on his contract, so unless the six-time All-Star decides to hang up his cleats in the next year, he’ll be in a Cincinnati Reds uniform until at least 2023. One thing the Reds have done a very poor job of is finding a reliable replacement and eventual successor for the former MVP.

As Votto is in his age-37 season, it’s become painfully obvious that the Reds first baseman doesn’t have quite the bat speed he once did. While Votto is still a capable hitter, he’s no longer a perennial All-Star who strikes fear into opposing pitchers. The closest thing Cincinnati’s farm system has to an eventual successor is Michael Triana, but the 21-year-old is still a project.

In the meantime, the Reds should focus on Tyler Stephenson as an option to spell Joey Votto at first base on occasion, and take over the position during situations in which the team currently finds themselves.

A catcher by trade, Stephenson is a huge (6-foot-4, 225-pounds) backstop, and there’s a chance down the road that digging balls out of the dirt is not his best position. We’ve seen All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal find his way to first base on occasion. The Chicago White Sox catcher has 829 career games behind the dish, but also 60 starts at first base.

Tyler Stephenson to first base is not a permanent solution for the Reds.

By no means am I advocating for Tyler Stephenson to take over as the Cincinnati Reds full-time first baseman. Heck, if Mike Moustakas returns before Joey Votto, Moose should supplant Stephenson at first base and allow the 24-year-old to return to regular spot donning the tools of ignorance.

However, until Moustakas or Votto return to the lineup, Cincinnati Reds skipper David Bell needs to do everything he can to put some runs on the board. Stephenson is a much better offensive weapon than Alex Blandino or Kyle Farmer.