Jose Barrero’s sluggish start with Rangers reveals what Reds fans already knew

Jose Barrero was picked up by the Texas Rangers earlier this spring.

Texas Rangers infielder Jose Barrero (19)
Texas Rangers infielder Jose Barrero (19) / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds surprised some fans earlier this spring after waiving shortstop Jose Barrero. Noelvi Marte had just been suspended, and the Reds' perceived depth was sure to be tested with their top prospect slated to miss the first 80 games of the 2024 season following a positive test for performance enhancing drugs.

When it was revealed that TJ Friedl would miss the start of the season after suffering a fractured wrist, some eyebrows were raised once again? Barrero had seen plenty of time in the outfield during Cactus League games, and could have been a suitable substitute with Friedl out of the lineup. Did the Reds do the right thing letting Barrero go so soon this spring?

As it turns out, the answer is a resounding yes! Barrero has appeared in seven spring games for the Texas Rangers since being waived by the Reds. During that time, Barrero is 1-for-11 with seven strikeouts and a .413 OPS. Though some Reds fans were willing to give Barrero the benefit of the doubt, the 25-year-old is confirming what so many have said over the years - Barrero can't hit at the major league level.

Jose Barrero’s sluggish start with Rangers reveals what Reds fans already knew

Barrero's career got off to a rocky start. After being called up midway through the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he was quickly relegated to a bench role after the Reds finally got rolling and made a late-season playoff push. In 2021, he was sent back to the minors to help his development.

Barrero was expected to be the Reds starting shortstop in 2022, but a hamate fracture that spring put those plans on hold. By the time Barrero was ready to return, his batting average in the minor leagues was hovering around the Mendoza line and Kyle Farmer had become the Reds unquestioned starter at shortstop.

Barrero finally had the position all to himself in 2023, but raised your hand if you've heard this one before) failed to produce at the dish. Barrero appeared in just 46 games and hit .218/.295/.323 with a 29.5% strikeout rate. Barrero was replaced in the Reds lineup by rookie infielder Matt McLain, and once Elly De La Cruz arrived, the former top prospect was sent back to the minors to close out his 2023 season.

Barrero was given multiple opportunities to solidify a spot on the Reds roster, and it just never materialized. Barrero has all the tools to be a major league player, but his inability to lay off pitches outside the strike zone has always been his undoing.

Barrero has struck out over 50% of the time since joining the Rangers, and it seems unlikely that he'll break camp with Texas. If he passes through waivers once again, the Rangers could outright Barrero to Triple-A Round Rock in an effort to get him back on track. Here's hoping that Barrero finally figures it out, but Reds fans have seen this movie before.

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