Mike Ford's disastrous start with the Reds could be salvaged with this simple lineup tweak

With Nick Martini back from the minors, the Reds have more options.
Cincinnati Reds designated hitter Mike Ford
Cincinnati Reds designated hitter Mike Ford / Harry How/GettyImages

Not only has the Mike Ford experiment failed miserably, it's debatable as to whether or not it's even gotten off the ground. Ford was signed to a major league contract — shortly after after opting out of his minor league deal — after the Reds placed Christian Encarnacion-Strand on the injured list.

Ford spent the entire spring crushing baseballs in Goodyear, and his first month in Triple-A yielded similar results. But since Ford has been added to the Reds active roster, there's been little to speak of. Entering Wednesday's game against the San Diego Padres, Ford was hitting .146/.163/.250 with a home run and four RBI. Ford was also able to record the first triple of his career earlier this season.

But is already time for the Reds to cut bait with the journeyman slugger? Ford, after an agonizing week on last week's road trip, was mercifully bumped down in the batting order on Tuesday. With Nick Martini having been recalled from the minors, is it for the Reds to make a tweak to the starting lineup?

Reds manager David Bell needs to platoon Mike Ford & Nick Martini at DH

The Reds fanbase had been clamoring for Ford to be part of the roster since before spring training ended. But now that he's here, it seems as the though the fanbase is singing a different tune. When the team is struggling as bad as the Reds have been, even adding a player like Ford seems a great idea.

But the simple truth is that Ford is career .206 hitter with a .705 OPS. Last season in 24 plate appearances versus left-handed pitching, Ford slashed .368/.500/.421. His career .838 OPS against southpaws confirms that Ford has reverse splits.

With Martini back in Cincinnati, it may not be necessary to release Ford, but David Bell should certainly platoon him. Martini could get the start when facing right-handed pitching and Ford can then be thrust into service against lefties. Martini's career-OPS is 300 points higher against right-handed hurlers than it is against southpaws.

It's a bit premature to pull the plug on the Mike Ford experiment, but the veteran's role should be redefined. Stuart Fairchild and Will Benson are platooned based on the pitching matchup, and the same reasoning to should apply to Ford and Martini.

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