What Kevin Newman brings to the Reds that Kyle Farmer didn't

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer, Kevin Newman
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer, Kevin Newman / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Infielder Kyle Farmer was traded to the Minnesota Twins last Friday. In a separate deal, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent Kevin Newman to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds basically exchanged one veteran infielder for another. That said, there are some obvious differences between Farmer and Newman.

Reds General Manager Nick Krall called Farmer and Newman "similar players", and he's right. But what makes Newman different from Farmer and what can the Cincinnati faithful expect from their newest infielder?

What Kevin Newman brings to the Reds that Kyle Farmer didn't.

The Cincinnati Reds kind of signaled that this move was coming late last year. The Reds, after trading Brandon Drury to the San Diego Padres, moved Kyle Farmer from shortstop to third base in order to give more major league at-bats to highly-touted prospect Jose Barrero.

With the addition of Spencer Steer and the presence of both Matt Reynolds and Alejo Lopez, not to mention Mike Moustakas, Farmer became expendable. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Farmer is likely to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $6M next season. That's a steep price to pay for a player who's been a below league-average hitter throughout his career.

Farmer's presence on the roster also would have prevented the Reds from giving meaningful playing to the aforementioned Steer and Lopez, not to mention the up-and-coming trio of Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and Matt McLain.

But, until those three are major league-ready and because of Jose Barrero's struggles, the Reds deemed it necessary to add another veteran who can play shortstop. That's where Kevin Newman comes in.

Newman will not be confused for Farmer at the plate. Newman is much more of a contact hitter, though he did post a wRC+ of 94 in 2022. Farmer had a 91 wRC+ last season. But Farmer does possess more power with a career .393 slugging percentage, compared to the .357 career slugging percentage held by Newman.

The biggest difference between Kyle Farmer and Kevin Newman will be felt on the defensive side of the ball. With MLB eliminating the defensive shift in 2023, a bigger emphasis will be placed on range of both the shortstop and the second baseman.

Last season was not Newman's best effort defensively, but Farmer fell short of his defensive numbers that were posted in 2021 as well. Farmer was worth 0 defensive runs saved last season and Newman put up -2 DRS while playing shortstop.

There's also the matter of cost. Kevin Newman is expected to make about of what Kyle Farmer is likely to rake in next season. In theory, this should give the Cincinnati Reds more financial flexibility in free agency, but that remains to be seen.

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