3 Reds players who don't deserve another season in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Aristides Aquino (44) reacts to striking out.
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Aristides Aquino (44) reacts to striking out. / Albert Cesare / The Enquirer via Imagn
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Sometimes the ball just doesn't break your way. The Cincinnati Reds, consistently viewed as a frugal franchise, oftentimes will hang on to players well past when they should. But at some point, it's time to cut bait and move on.

The Reds have a handful of players on their current roster who need to be handed their walking papers. While the potential may be there, these players have yet to realize it and their struggles have led to constant frustration from the fanbase. Which three Reds players don't deserve another season in Cincinnati?

1. Aristides Aquino, Reds outfielder

Let's start with the most obvious candidate. Outfielder Aristides Aquino burst onto the scene in 2019, but has done little to nothing since. The Punisher made fans quickly forget about the Wild Horse, Yasiel Puig, once the mercurial outfielder was dealt to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline during the 2019 season.

Aquino took over in right field for the final two months of the 2019 season and gave the fans throughout Reds Country a show to remember. In August, Aquino walloped 14 round trippers, racked up 33 RBIs, and posted a wRC+ of 183. The rookie took home Player of the Month honors for August that season.

But then it all came tumbling down. Since the start of September 2019, Aquino has 370 plate appearances and 17 home runs while posting a wRC+ of just 71 and a strikeout-rate of 34.3%. What a fall from grace.

There have been some issues over which Aquino had no control. Cincinnati, somehow, was able to ink Nick Castellanos to a contract prior to the 2020 season which effectively turned Aquino into a bench bat. An injury to his hamate bone last season slowed any chance of Aquino gathering meaningful playing time during the 2021 season.

The Punisher's time in Cincinnati seems to have run its course. Aquino will be locked in a battle for playing time once again in 2022. Despite the likely departure of Castellanos, Jesse Winker, Tyler Naquin, and Nick Senzel will all be given the nod over Aquino. While the addition of the DH works in Aquino's favor, that spot is likely reserved for Mike Moustakas. It's time for the Reds and Aquino to part ways.

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) tries to catch a fly ball.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) tries to catch a fly ball. / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

2. Shogo Akiyama, Reds outfielder

While we're on the subject of underachieving outfielders, we might as well discuss Shogo Akiyama. Now, I'm not going to absolutely bury Akiyama, as there were some issues that the former Japanese star had no control over.

The coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in 2020, and the abbreviated spring training that followed later that summer was not an ideal scenario for Akiyama. The outfielder struggled out of the gate, but seemed to find his groove during the second half of the 60-game season.

Last spring, Akiyama missed a good deal of camp while he was tending to his injured wife back in Cincinnati. The left-handed hitting Akiyama returned only to injure his hamstring and was not even on the field until early-May.

Despite injuries to Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, and Nick Castellanos, the Japanese outfielder never found his rhythm and was relegated to a bench role. A fine fielder, Akiyama struggled at the plate in 2021 to the tune of a .204 batting average. The 33-year-old has yet to record a home run in the major leagues.

Shogo Akiyama is owed $8M this season, and that's way too much money for a slap-hitting reserve. The Reds should be shopping Akiyama once the MLB lockout concludes, and if they cannot find a taker, perhaps it's better to just sever ties all together.

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Ryan Hendrix (C) hands the ball to David Bell.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Ryan Hendrix (C) hands the ball to David Bell. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3. Ryan Hendrix, Reds pitcher

Ryan Hendrix has been in the Cincinnati Reds system for a long time, but it might be time to cut ties with the 27-year-old. Hendrix finally made his big league debut in 2021, but after a red-hot start, opposing hitters began to tattoo the right-hander.

Hendrix's first five appearances, which totaled three innings of work, saw the rookie strikeout five batters while not allowing a single run to dent the plate. The next five appearances told a different story. Hendrix went 4.1 innings, walked five batters, and only struck out three while allowing seven hits and five runs.

Hendrix put together 31.2 innings of work during his first season in the big leagues. His 9.95 K/9 was solid, but the 4.55 BB/9 was not good, and neither was Hendrix's 2.27 HR/9. Hendrix recorded 35 strikeouts, 16 free passes, and eight round trippers.

Ryan Hendrix was sent back to Triple-A near the end of July and never returned to the big leagues. Hendrix pitched 15.2 innings for the Louisville Bats with an ERA of 8.62. Despite the Reds horrendous bullpen in 2021, Hendrix lack of success upon his return to the minors did not instill any confidence in the Cincinnati coaching staff.

Ranking every Reds player on the 40-man roster. dark. Next

Ryan Hendrix is still under team control through the 2026 season, so it would not be outrageous to see the Cincinnati Reds hang on to the right-handed hurler with the expectation of him returning to form. But, the presence of other relievers already on the 40-man roster coupled with young pitcher like Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft coming up through the system may pose a threat to Hendrix's standing on the team.