How will the Reds handle Kyle Farmer's role moving forward?

Cincinnati Reds infielder Kyle Farmer.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Kyle Farmer. / G Fiume/GettyImages

One of the most intriguing stories of the upcoming offseason will be how the Cincinnati Reds plan to handle infielder Kyle Farmer heading into 2023.

Farmer bailed the Reds out of messy situation in 2021 and was the team's starting shortstop this season. Farmer was then moved to third base after the trade deadline and Jose Barrero has served as Cincinnati's primary shortstop since the first week of August. But the highly-touted infield prospect has fallen woefully short of expectations.

The Reds have also seen increased playing time for infielders Alejo Lopez and Spencer Steer or late. There's also the elephant in the room whose name is Elly De La Cruz. While the organization's top prospect is likely to begin next season in the minor leagues, all signs point to the shortstop making his major league debut in 2023.

Reds infielder Kyle Farmer will struggle to find consistent playing time in 2023.

First of all, it seems unlikely that Kyle Farmer will be the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop in 2022. Whether it's Jose Barrero, Elly De La Cruz, or Matt McLain, chances are good that Cincinnati will go into next season with one of their younger infielders starting at shortstop.

The Reds could certainly start Farmer at third base. According to Baseball Savant, Farmer has more outs above average at third base (2) than he does at shortstop (-3). But will Cincinnati ride with the veteran Farmer at the hot corner when they have several budding, young infielders who are ready to make their mark in the big leagues?

While Alejo Lopez is more of utility infielder than a starter, all the 26-year-old is rack up base hits. While most are singles, Lopez's .340 on-base percentage is tough to ignore. Pairing Farmer's success versus left-handed pitching alongside the switch-hitting Lopez could give David Bell a nice 1-2 punch at third base.

But don't forget about Spencer Steer. The prized pickup from the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline, Steer has been moved all over the infield during his first month in the big leagues, but has primarily been a third baseman throughout his minor league career.

How else can Kyle Farmer impact the Reds' lineup in 2023?

Perhaps the Cincinnati Reds will use Kyle Farmer in the same way they previously used Brandon Drury and are currently using Donovan Solano. Both Drury and Solano play multiple infield positions and have been inserted into the lineup as the team's designated hitter on several occasions.

One thing fans should not expect is for Farmer to return to catching duties. Yes, Farmer was drafted as a catcher, but he has just nine starts at the position and hasn't donned the tools of ignorance since 2019. Only in an emergency situation should Reds Country expect to see Farmer squatting behind the plate.

It's doubtful the Cincinnati Reds will look to trade Kyle Farmer over the winter. He's been a solid clubhouse presence and is one of the few veteran leaders on the team. Farmer will be due a raise during the offseason as he'll be entering Year 2 of his arbitration window. Farmer stands to rake in upwards of $5M next season.

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