What might the Reds bench look like on Opening Day 2022?
Kyle Farmer, Mike Moustakas, Nick Senzel, Shogo Akiyama, Mark Kolozsvary
If Jose Barrero wants to be the the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop on Opening Day, he better be ready for a little competition. Kyle Farmer will do everything he can to retain the spot he earned last season.
I'm a huge fan of Farmer and would not shed a tear if he were the Reds starting shortstop to begin the 2022 season. However, if the belief is that Barrero is the future at the position, then Farmer should return to being the first guy off David Bell's bench.
Max Schrock is essentially the left-handed hitting version of Kyle Farmer. But, with minor league options remaining, I think the Reds will keep Schrock at Triple-A to begin the season and roll with Nick Senzel as a super utility player.
Senzel is capable of playing center field, as well as second and third base. Senzel's versatility is one of his best attributes, and perhaps if he's not counted on as a everyday player, the former No. 2 overall pick can remain healthy.
I can't see Tucker Barnhart returning to the Reds, especially not at the $7.5M he's owed if the Reds pick up his option. Instead, look for rookie backstop Mark Kolozsvary to back up Tyler Stephenson.
Unless the Reds can find a taker, I think Shogo Akiyama returns in 2022. Akiyama has never lived up to the hype after agreeing to a three-year/$21M prior to the 2020 season. The Japanese-born outfielder still has yet to hit his first big league home run.
For now, we'll consider Mike Moustakas a bench player. But $16M is a lot to pay a reserve. It's very likely, however, the designated hitter will find its way to the National League. Moose makes perfect sense to occupy that role for the Reds in 2022.