Getting Reds shortstop Jose Barrero reps in center field is about 1 thing

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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It would appear as though Reds fans have finally received some insight into the team's plan for their depth at the shortstop position.

According to Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer, manager David Bell spoke about getting Jose Barrero some reps in the outfield. More specifically, center field.

The Cincinnati Reds have both Barrero and Kevin Newman slated to break camp with the team later this month. Shortstop Elly De La Cruz was optioned to Triple-A Louisville earlier this month, and former first-round pick Matt McLain is on the cusp of his major league debut. McLain's primary position is also shortstop.

Moving Reds SS Jose Barrero to the outfield is about one thing.

Even before trading for Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo at last year's trade deadline, the Cincinnati Reds had more shortstops than they knew what do with. Kyle Farmer was the Reds everyday shortstop until early-August when the decision was made to call-up Jose Barrero.

Cincinnati dealt Farmer during the offseason, which helped unclog the logjam, but in the same day, the Reds landed Kevin Newman in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds have four shortstops on the 40-man roster and one more waiting in the wings. Something had to give.

It would appear that Cincinnati is set on moving Marte to third base - a transition he's expected to make this season while opening the year at Double-A Chattanooga. Another may involve former top infield prospect Jose Barrero.

David Bell can talk all he wants about this adding flexibility to Barrero's skillset, but let's cut through the bull an call this what it is - a way to get Elly De La Cruz to The Show as quickly as possible.

Barrero may make the shift from the infield to the outfield and turn into a star. He should probably learn to lay off a breaking pitch before shagging balls in the outfield grass, but that's not my call. Once De La Cruz was added to the 40-man roster, it was only a matter of time before the front office began to push Barrero off shortstop.

Frankly, Barrero's lack of production has given the Reds virutally no choice. While I'm of the mindset that offseason hamate surgery certainly contributed to his struggles in 2022, a 40-percent strikeout-rate put Cincinnati in the position to accelerate their plans for De La Cruz. His stellar play at both High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga certainly didn't hurt.

Jose Barrero is under team-control through the 2027 season. The Cincinnati Reds cannot afford to just give on a player who, a year ago, was one of the best in their entire farm system. Giving Barrero reps in the outfield is the best way to give the 24-year-old a chance to find success while at the same time not sacrificing the future with Elly De La Cruz so close to the major leagues.

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