Social media about blew up yesterday after David Bell released his lineup for the series finale against the Colorado Rockies. The Cincinnati Reds fielded a team that consisted of Kevin Newman at second base, Jose Barrero at shortstop, and Matt McLain on the bench.
Obviously, that ruffled some feather among the Cincinnati faithful. Just two days after calling up one of the top prospects and declaring that he'd see a considerable amount of playing time, the Reds sat McLain in favor of Barrero.
What did Barrero do? Well, to the amazement of some fans, Barrero went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, two walks, and RBI, and a strikeout. That's not a bad showing from the No. 8 hitter in your lineup. But fans should not expect any sort of a platoon situation with Barrero and McLain at shortstop.
How do the Reds keep Jose Barrero's bat in the lineup?
There are some Reds fans who'll want to see David Bell set his lineup by sending his best nine guys onto the field every day. Sorry folks, that's just not the way the game is played. Heck, even Dan Driessen, Bill Plummer, Bob Bailey, and Doug Flynn all started over 35 games for the Big Red Machine in 1976.
If a player is on the active roster, he needs to receive some form of regular playing time in order to stay sharp when his number is called. This isn't to say that Jose Barrero should be starting over Matt McLain at shortstop every other day, but Bell needs to get Barrero into the lineup two to three days per week.
While Jose Barrero isn't setting the world ablaze with his bat this season, he's been better than last year's atrocity. In his last 40 plate appearances, Barrero is hitting .270/.325/.405 with five doubles.
With the designated hitter now in both the American League and the National League, it's not the difficult to figure out ways to get both McLain and Barrero into the lineup on a regular basis. The Reds have also experimented with Barrero in center field. McLain, who's only played second base and shortstop since the Reds drafted him in 2021, played center field in college at UCLA.
With TJ Friedl and Joey Votto both on the IL, there should be a concerted effort on the part of David Bell and the Cincinnati Reds coaching staff to keep Jose Barrero's bat in the lineup.
No, Barrero hasn't lived up to the hype that forecasted him to be Cincinnati's shortstop of the future. But if the Reds are going to keep Barrero on the active roster, he can't just ride the bench. If that's the Reds plan, then Barrero needs to be optioned back to Triple-A where he can start every day.