The Cincinnati Reds have called up shortstop Jose Barrero. He’s taking the place on the 26-man roster of Jesse Winker who injured himself on a swing yesterday and is now dealing with an intercostal strain and has been placed on the 10-day injured list.
It was just yesterday that Reds General Manager Nick Krall said that Jose Barrero was still getting comfortable in Triple-A Louisville. Barrero, the 23-year-old shortstop, is currently hitting .305/.389/.584 for the Bats and has 19 doubles, a triple, 17 home runs, and 15 steals on the season between his stops in Double-A Chattanooga with the Lookouts and his time with Louisville this season in 80 games played.
The best defensive player on the roster with exception of Tucker Barnhart, Jose Barrero has done seemingly everything he can to show that he’s ready. His struggles in the last five weeks of the 2020 season were real. But he was also asked to do something that almost no one could do – jump to the big leagues without ever playing in Double-A or Triple-A. This season, though, Barrero has tore through both Double-A and Triple-A with no remorse for the feelings of the pitchers he faced off against.
The question may be, and likely is: How much will Jose Barrero play? Kyle Farmer has been the shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds most of the season. He’s done all that one could reasonably ask of him. Farmer has played a solid defensive shortstop – perhaps even better than solid. And his July at the plate was Barry Bonds-like. But even with an incredible July at the plate, Farmer’s posted an OPS+ of just 86 – meaning he’s still been 14% worse than the league average hitter. Since August began he’s hit just .259/.286/.389 with one walk.
Jose Barrero is the future shortstop of the Cincinnati Reds. He’s absolutely been killing the ball in the minor leagues this season. He’s the best defender at the shortstop position in the organization. No sanely run organization would, or should default to a 31-year-old who has had one good month at the plate in his entire career over a stud top rated 23-year-old prospect who has killed the ball in Triple-A – which we wrote about just a few days ago. This is where you hand the keys to Barrero and let him show you that he’s not the answer before you take them back from him.
Manager David Bell said that the plan is to use Jose Barrero off of the bench.
“I think the way I see it, number one, this team has played well and the players on this team have played well to be in this position we’re in,” said Bell on Monday afternoon. “No one’s looking to disrupt anything. We’re always looking to get better, we’re looking to have the best team on the field. The fact that Jose can play third base, second base is going to help the situation. We’re day-to-day and I’m not going to look too far ahead, but it’ll happen. He can play some short, play some second, play some third and he’s going to come off the bench. We’ve had four bench players for a long time. The guys that aren’t starting the game, they factor in big to almost all of our games. I know it’s important to everyone who is starting, but some of these at-bats that these guys coming off the bench are getting, coming into the game and staying in the game – late in the game they make a big difference. I’m not too worried about finding playing time for him.”
Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer followed up, stating: I don’t want to put words in your mouth but it sounds like you’re not calling Jose up to start him every single day at shortstop. Is that a good read of the situation?
“That’s right. Exactly. The guys that have been playing on a regular basis have done a great job. So it’s going to be a team effort and we’ll figure it out. We lost Wink today, but we did the best we could to keep our team as strong as we can without him.”