The Cincinnati Reds have started the transition into the future. Just days after revealing the team's new City Connect jerseys, the Reds first domino fell into their future roster construction.
With Matt McLain called up to the show, David Bell has decided to slot the former first-round pick at shortstop. Reds fans knew this time was coming. With as many young infield prospects inside the organization as the Reds have, there simply was not enough room for everyone to play.
The move ultimately means Jose Barrero will no longer be the primary option at shortstop. The Reds 2023 Opening Day shortstop now finds himself on the outside looking in. Still on the team though, Barrero has an opportunity to keep his major league status intact.
Why Jose Barrero, at the very least, should split time in center field
Jose Barrero’s career in the big leagues has been one of misfortune. Making his debut in 2020 during the pandemic-shortened season, Barrero hadn’t previously played above the High-A level in the minors.
It was apparent early, his development at the plate wasn’t quite ready for the majors. The lack of production continued in the next two seasons. Sporting a strikeout rate of 38-percent, 30-percent, and 44-percent between 2020-2022, Barrero’s inability to produce offensively became a big question mark in his future with the team.
The one part of his game that was keeping him afloat in the big leagues was his above-average defensive play at short. In 2023, while his offensive production hasn’t been as bad as in years prior, his defensive play has taken a significant step back.
Perhaps the last ditch effort the Reds can use to try and salvage Barrero’s young career is a position change. The current roster needs help in the outfield. With Barrero’s athleticism, he may be able to make the transition.
The possible move to the outfield has already begun its trial period. Barrero has started seven games in center field this season, along with seven starts in 2021. Now with TJ Friedl on the Injured List, Barrero could be getting more looks at a new position.
Make no mistake, the clock is ticking for Jose Barrero to figure it out, and it is ticking fast. With more young players close to breaking onto the scene, the former top prospect in the organization might have already been squeezed out of the infield. His ability to play center field might be his last chance to stay with the organization.