The Cincinnati Reds have spent the last two years building their farm system and have filled it with talented young prospects. A large group of potential major leaguers made the jump to from the minor leagues to the active roster in 2023.
The youth movement in Cincinnati may prevent Joey Votto from finding a spot on the 2024 roster, and there's reason to believe that Jonathan India may be on his way out as well. Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Matt McLain would appear to have stranglehold on the four infield spots.
With playing time likely to be scarce in 2024, is it worth it for the Reds to hang on to former top infield prospect Jose Barrero?
What should the Reds do with Jose Barrero this offseason?
During the 2020 shortened season, Jose Barrero was called up to the big leagues without setting foot on a Double-A or Triple-A field. Since his introductory season, the infielder has bounced between the major and minor leagues, and never really finding success.
An argument can be made that the jump from High-A to the big leagues, at only 22-years-old, impacted the true development of Barrero. In just over 400 plate appearances in the majors, Barrero has simply not been able to figure it out.
A slash line of just .186/.242/.255 and a 32 wRC+ per FanGraphs paints the picture. Unfortunately for Barrero, the picture isn’t worth much.
Prior to this season, his lackluster offensive production was able to be hidden by his above-average defensive play. In 2023, however, Barrero's struggles at the plate seemed to bleed over to his defense where he registered a -3 defensive runs saved (DRS) at shortstop.
The Reds tried to fit a square peg into a round hole by moving Barrero from shortstop to center field, but that proved to be a rather fruitless endeavor. Barrero just hasn’t been able to capitalize in his opportunity in the big leagues.
At this point, non-tendering Barrero is certainly on the table. After watching him have success once again at Triple-A, the Cincinnati Reds could also choose to attempt to trade Barrero during the offseason.
Jose Barrero has proven he can hit minor league pitching, but his 37-percent career strikeout-rate and .186 career-batting average tells us he isn’t ready for the big leagues. The time has come to move on.