Reds should deal Alejo Lopez while his trade-value is high

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 01: Alejo Lopez #28 of the Cincinnati Reds grounds into a double play. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 01: Alejo Lopez #28 of the Cincinnati Reds grounds into a double play. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds optioned infielder Alejo Lopez back to Triple-A Louisville on Sunday. While the rookie has played admirably, mostly as a pinch hitter, since his call-up to the big leagues, perhaps the 25-year-old holds more value as trade chip before the upcoming July 30th deadline.

This isn’t meant in any way to be a knock against Lopez, who’s game I absolutely love. Lopez is a hitter. He’s not a power-hitter, which is all the rage in today’s game. But the former 27th-round pick just knows how to put the bat on the ball.

In his brief time with the Reds this season, Lopez hit .294 and struck out three times in 17 at-bats. Lopez has seen time at second and third base and in center field. He’s a versatile fielder who’s only received three starts since his debut at the end of June.

Alejo Lopez is little more than a utility infielder for the Reds.

The last thing the Cincinnati Reds need is another utility infielder. Between Kyle Farmer, Alex Blandino, Max Schrock, and Mike Freeman, this team has enough rotational bench players who can grab the occasional start on the infield dirt.

Cincinnati also has Nick Senzel, who’s currently rehabbing from knee surgery. Senzel, a former first-round pick, finally saw time time in the infield this season after spending his first two seasons as the team’s primary centerfielder.

When the team is fully healthy, it’s doubtful that Alejo Lopez dents the roster. Even if he does, he’ll likely be relegated to the same role we’ve seen him occupy since making his big league debut.

There’s nothing wrong with being a utility player. Every good team has bench/ role players who make an impact. Heck, Kyle Farmer’s gone from utility player to starting shortstop. That said, if dealing Lopez could bring back a relief pitcher that could bolster the Reds’ beleaguered bullpen, sign me up.

We’ve seen the Cincinnati fans, ownership, and front office gravitate toward these types of players in the past. Former slugger Josh VanMeter and current outfielder Aristides Aquino come to mind. Both were productive players for short stretches, but unlikely to find a permanent home in the starting lineup.

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Alejo Lopez’s journey through the minor leagues is a fantastic story, and if he’s still a member of the Cincinnati Reds after July 30th, I’ll be cheering him on all the way. This is just an instance of getting the most bang for your buck. If another team is willing to take a flyer on Lopez while giving up a potential reliever, the Reds have to consider that type of offer.