Ender Inciarte gives the Reds little more than Shogo Akiyama has provided

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 27: Ender Inciarte #11 of the Atlanta Braves catches a fly ball in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 27: Ender Inciarte #11 of the Atlanta Braves catches a fly ball in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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There are few fans who are more excited about the Ender Inciarte signing than me, but let’s not rush the three-time Gold Glove Award-winner to the Cincinnati Reds active roster. In fact, what we’ve seen at the dish from Inciarte this season is quite similar to the numbers put up by Shogo Akiyama.

Inciarte, in only 79 at-bats for the Atlanta Braves this season, has hit .215/.276/.316. Akiyama, in only 124 at-bats for the Reds, is slashing .210/.283/.258. Neither player provides much at the plate, but Inciarte’s signing gives Cincinnati some depth, especially if any outfielders succumb to injury over the final two months of the season.

The Reds signed Inciarte to a minor-league contract and assigned the former All-Star to Triple-A Louisville. Inciarte was recently designated for assignment by the Braves, and will try to earn his way back to the bigs while playing for the Bats.

Ender Inciarte and Shogo Akiyama are essentially the same player.

It’s hard to see Ender Inciarte replacing anyone in the Cincinnati Reds outfield. Nick Castellanos just returned to the lineup on Thursday night, and Nick Senzel is expected to rejoin the team very soon as well.

The Reds already have a crowded outfield with All-Star left fielder Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Tyler Naquin, and Shogo Akiyama. Cincinnati’s outfield depth is so great that we may see Senzel spend more time on the infield dirt than the outfield grass when he returns.

Prior to the 2019 season, I would have loved to see Cincinnati’s front office make a play for Inciarte. At the time, the then-28-year-old was in the middle of long-term contract, had played three consecutive seasons of Gold Glove defense in center field, and had a respectable 95 OPS+.

Since the start of the 2019 season, however, Inciarte has been plagued by injury and sub-par performance. Over the past three seasons, Inciarte has played in just 163 games and posted a 65 OPS+ and a .223 batting average. In his two seasons with the Reds, Shogo Akiyama is hitting just .229 with an OPS+ of 58.

Cincinnati signed Akiyama to a three-year/$21M contract prior to last season, and are likely regretting investing so much into a player that’s underperformed. The Reds have received much better production from Tyler Naquin this season who’s earning just $1.5M and has an OPS+ of 85.

Farmer must start at SS once Moose returns. Next

It’s possible, should the Cincinnati Reds make it to the postseason, that we’ll see Ender Inciarte join the active roster. For now, however, I don’t expect to see Inciarte back in The Show unless someone in the Reds’ outfield suffers an injury.