The Cincinnati Reds have activated corner infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera. To make room for him on the 26-man roster the team optioned shortstop Jose Barrero to Triple-A Louisville…. sort of. The paper move has him on the Louisville roster, but he’s been placed on the taxi squad for the road trip.

As we wrote about yesterday, Cabrera has been hitting left-handed pitching well this year and it’s been quite strong over the last three months. But he’s also been so bad against right-handed pitching that he probably shouldn’t see a single pitch from one of them unless he’s the last available option. Even as a switch-hitter, he’s performed very poorly from the left side of the plate against right-handed pitching this season.

As for what this means for Jose Barrero, for the next two days it means he’s not going to be playing unless an injury opens up a spot on the roster for Sunday. The Reds return to Cincinnati to begin a new series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, which will negate the taxi squad and mean that he’ll head back to Louisville. It’s possible that Barrero could return to the roster in September as the Reds can expand things to include 28 players. It isn’t a guarantee that he would be recalled, but it seems like as sure of a thing as one can have given that the reasoning given when he was called up to be a bench player was that he was the player that was best suited to make the team better and it’s been a whole week-and-a-half since then and nothing has changed that.

Getting back to Cabrera we have to openly wonder what this means for third base. Since Mike Moustakas returned from injury, it’s been a platoon of sorts at third between he and Eugenio Suárez. But the biggest issue with that is that Suárez hasn’t really hit lefties at all this season. His .133/.241/.286 line against lefties this year has been about as bad as a non-pitcher showing at the plate you’re going to see. Cabrera, as noted above, has hit lefties well this year and particularly in the second half of the season. As a guy who has spent the last two seasons playing first and third base it seems the smart move would be to employee a platoon between he and Moustakas at third base for the time being and try to find pinch-hitting opportunities against right-handed pitching for Suárez that may play to his strengths.

64 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Makes sense , really. Asking a kid to come up and contribute in the circumstances the Refs find themselves in right now is realistic or really very fair to the kid. Hate to see every ounce of confidence he built up this season washed away in two weeks.

    • Jim Walker

      Yep, Alejo Lopez has not been the same guy at AAA since he got the same bum’s rush.

      What happened with both guys does neither the team nor the player any good. The guy loses his groove and has to work to try and recover it. Meanwhile the up and back down and resultant lower MiLB stats depreciate his value in possible off season trades.

      The handling of Barrero in particular was nothing short of stupid by the Reds. Fans like to talk about loyalty and expect players to be all in for “hometown deals” down the road while the guys probably recall being treated like he has been treated and have that in the back of their mind as a reason to move on when the chance comes up.

      • Greenfield Red

        Agree completely. I don’t understand calling a guy up to sit the bench. Does nothing for anyone.

      • Arthur

        With respect to the way they handled Barrero – I think you are being too kind.

        They should have handed him the keys and said, “show us what you got, kid.”

      • Jim Walker

        @Greenfield> Bet like me you recall when Trader Jack was Reds manager and said that anybody the GM thought was good enough to bring when it was not the direct result of an injury that he better find out in a hurry whether or not they could cut it at MLB. And he was usually true to this word.

      • Alan Horn

        What about when they rushed him to the majors with no AA or AAA experience .

      • KDJ

        Agree. You can add to that the squandering of an option.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I agree Jim. I wish they’d have left him down if they weren’t going to play him.

      • RojoB

        Ah, Jim–agree completely. Nothing left to be said, other than think of where the talent on this 40 man roster would get you with more competent leadership!

        And be amazed at the current success in spite of it.

    • Joe P.

      Hard for Barrero to establish any confidence at the MLB level when the manager choose not to play him. Barrero had 2 hits in only 12 at bats.

      • Alan Horn

        A quick way to break his spirit and confidence.

  2. B-town fan

    This is not a good look for Suarez being relegated to a pinch hitter, but the Reds and Bell have given him every opportunity to correct himself and make adjustments hitting wise over the last two seasons and for what ever reason he just has not been able to. He just has not been the same player since he hurt his shoulder in his swimming pool and the subsequent surgery.

    • Votto4life

      Yeah…I have been pleading for Suarez to be benched for months now, but I still feel bad for Geno. He seems like a really good guy. I wish things were different.

      • Alan Horn

        Same here. I think his hitting skills have just eroded.

      • Greenfield Red

        I don’t think his shills have erroded. I think his approach has changed and opposing pitchers are taking advantage. The prediction of 50 home runs was the beginning of the end of Geno.

    • Doug Gray

      Let’s be sure to understand that Suárez has not been relegated to a pinch hitter at this point. What was said is “should he be”, by me, trying to figure out the best option for the Reds in the situation.

      • B-town fan

        Doug, you were surmising that with the addition of Cabrera, that Suarez would mostly be a pinch hitter and that is the correct assumption. Bell hasn’t officially announced it, and he probably never will.

      • RojoB

        **checks lineup in Sunday’s game**

        Oh, yeah, there’s Suarez starting at third base. Same old David Bell

    • Alan Horn

      Agree with everything you stated.

  3. Arthur

    Jose Barrero is going to get the run-around. Call him up, don’t play him. Send him down. Call him back up, play him everywhere but SS.

    And in January, we will all still be wondering, “do we have a SS on our roster, or do we need to sign a free agent or to trade for one?”

    Do we really need that 9th reliever more than an above-average defender at SS??

    • Jim Walker

      Especially when they could get the 9th reliever back Wednesday via roster expansion.

      • Arthur

        Well, we did have to make room for a 35 year old guy who just got released by a last place team.

    • Alan Horn

      True in Jan. about our SS. We won’t know where we are there because we blotched an opportunity by playing Suarez and Moose at 3B instead of Farmer after Barreo was called up. Does anyone really think Barreo would have hit worse than those 2? Plus, if we had given him a fair chance and he bombed we would have a month where we could have moved Farmer back to SS.

    • Tom Reeves

      A player developing during a playoff season is tough. Barrero should get an extended look at the major league level. But let’s not act like he’s being mistreated. He made major league salary last year and for the last several weeks. And he’ll be back in September. Heck, he may be back today if Moose is injured. And if he comes up, I think Farmer slides to 3B and Barerro goes to SS.

      • Alan Horn

        We can only hope about you last sentence. I think they will go with Cabrera and Suarez at 3B. I say give Barreo a full week or 10 days starting and go from there. I guarantee the defense or offense won’t be hurt over what we have been getting.

    • MFG

      JB to SS# and Farmer to 3RD base! This is a no brainer!

  4. Old-school

    Ender inciarte has been released

    Shogo it is for all of his 3 years and $24 million
    Cant wait for the mark sheldon spoon fed articles from Phil Castellini on how Shogo has adjusted

    Ill give creativity points to Phil but he better bring it

    • Jim Walker

      Betting Inciarte had an out in his contract if he wasn’t called up. This leaves him 2-3 days to try and hook onto somebody who will put him on their 40 man roster or at least have them on their org in time to maneuver him onto a playoff roster.

    • LDS

      Well that experiment didn’t amount to much. Hope Cabrera turns out better.

      • Alan Horn

        Inciarte may have aged out like some we have on our roster. He didn’t hit at all with the Braves this season after being pretty good for them for several seasons.

  5. 2020ball

    wondering if he can be called back up on sept 1st if hes taxi squad

    • Jim Walker

      Same here. too deep into the rules for me.

      • Jim Walker

        of course, it does not have to be a direct replacement to get an injury exemption. The 14th pitcher could get “injured” and Barrero could be recalled for him inside of 10 days, no questions asked or explanation required.

  6. Rednat

    I think you give Moustakis the lion’s share of playing time at 3rd base. If he can stay healthy. The thing that worries me most about Suarez is not the average but the power numbers are way down especially since the break.
    Also, what happened with Nick Senzel?

    • Jim Walker

      Last seen at the Arizona complex doing rehab work on his knee. Don’t quote me but I believe they have scrimmages/ or unofficial game activities he could participate in (when ready) without the need for declaring an official rehab period.

      His official status is that he is on the 60 day MLB level IL with tenure dated back to his original injury date (IOW, he has his 60 day minimum and more covered).

    • B-town fan

      Senzel is in Goodyear rehabbing his knee. He had fluid in it after his rehab stint in Louisville.

    • Alan Horn

      Moose was hurt in the game tonight. Another thing about Moose that struck me is that he is awfully slow in the field with poor range. Suarez is by far the better fielder.

  7. Roger Garrett

    Barrero just got the run around like most of our young players always get.Lets be honest the Reds are 12 over because they are 15 over in the division and they have 15 more I think against them,Bell could start anybody and pitch anybody and the Reds will still probably win 9 or 10 and we will stand up and cheer.I mean the left side of the infield has players 30,31,33 and now 35 years of age and I don’t believe any are at league average on offense or defense.So we have no room for a 23 year old true shortstop,the only one on the roster,that has speed and plays defense.What about his hitting in what 14 at bats?Who cares?He could hit 200 and still help the team.Reds weren’t going to play Barrero so its best he goes somewhere where he can play?I don’t watch the games but I do look at some of the highlights and he just look so much better then any infielder we have.

    • Redsvol

      Roger – go drink a beer or something man. The team you follow is 12 games over .500. That’s really hard to do in baseball.

      • Old-school

        How bout you contribute content ?
        No content

        Embarrassing garbage

        Do you actually have an original thought?

      • Alan Horn

        You should never be satisfied with where you are. Even if you are in first place, the hardest part is not getting there but staying there. Does anyone think Nick Saban is ever satisfied with where his team is at? The only time to be satisfied is when everything is over and we have won it all. Being prematurely satisfied is the mark of a loser versus that of a winner.

  8. Alan Horn

    Why isn’t Stephenson catching tonight. Doesn’t he usually catch Gutierrez? Is Stephenson hurt?

  9. CI3J

    Truly a clown show the way the Reds have handled Barrero. Only the Reds could think “I know! Let’s take one of the very best hitters in AAA who also happens to play spectacular defense at a position where we’ve needed it for years and…. Stick him on the bench.”

    It’s also a little disturbing that some people seem to think Farmer has in any way, shape, or form been “good” this season. Yes, he plays passable defense at SS, better than what many were expecting. And yes, he absolutely had a July for the ages at the plate. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that for his career (and for this season, except for July), he is a way below average hitter.

    But yeah, let’s not give Barrero a shot. We don’t need him, we got Farmer.


    • Hanawi

      To me it shows a disconnect between the front office and the coaches. I cannot imagine wanting to call him up if he wasn’t going to play. Either the front office called him up without a plan with the coaches to play him regularly or this was the plan. I’m not sure which would be worse.

      • Alan Horn

        I am not sure it is the front office/owner or the manager. What is a fact is that it is one or the other or possibly both.

      • beelicker

        They said all along the called him up to be a utility infielder they needed with a short bench. He played 2nd and SS with a couple of relief starts in this utility infielder capacity. They also worked him out and drilled him as a utility CFer for evaluation purposes. When they picked up a veteran INF on waivers, he was the natural choice with options they (temporarily) moved to free up a roster spot, keeping him handy on the road trip on the taxi squad until at least they come back to Cincinnati. Moose comes up lame and may soon become an IL casualty and Barrero would be right there ready to seemlessly return to the 26. Seems fairly routine and normal to me. The rookie tail doesn’t wag the dog in MLB. There’s still at least 5 weeks of the season for them to bring him back post 9/1 if not sooner

      • Alan Horn

        I respectively disagree. They brought him up earlier to be the starting SS with no AA or AAA experience. That is a good way to ruin a player. Bringing him up to sit on the bench is another way to ruin a good prospect. They had Rodriguez at AAA if that is what they wanted to do.

    • 2020ball

      Barrero will be fine, though i say that while also being disappointed he hasnt gotten more of a shot.

      also Farmer has been good for sure, but we know what we’re getting from him now. He can play a decent SS, something that shoyldnt be understated, and he can hit just enough to be a fringy starter. Good ballplayer, but we should be looking for a better long term solution at SS. I can squint and see what the Reds are doing here and begrudgingly accept it. That said Ive seenteams do much worse.

      • beelicker

        Bouncing back from adversity or inactivity is a useful skill any major leaguer can and should develop. Same with how they approach keeping themselves prepared and ready with a good attitude

    • AMDG

      To his credit, Farmer is having a career year.
      Granted, his career year is a paltry 0.257 average, and an 82 OPS+
      So he’s still not “good”.

      But apparently, the Reds feel a mediocre veteran, playing slightly above his track record is more valuable to them than a stud defender who has a very high upside bat compared to Farmer.

      It’s almost as if the Reds are playing scared, not to lose, and would rather roll with subpar veterans (Moustakas, Suarez, Farmer, Cabrera) over an unproven commodity like Barrero.

      Which is likely why he’s afraid of giving Stephenson more playing time. And why he continually rolled Garrett out there for much of the season.

      It’s surprising the Reds are still in the 2nd wild card spot, for as embarrassing as their roster & lineup management has been this season.

      • beelicker

        They have the metrics of how the pitching staff performs as well as the pitchers’ input as far as level of staff performance goes. Head to head comparison of the catchers’ hitting is not the sole determinant of who plays catcher. TS may have some physical problem that they’re trying to not overwork or there may be a glut of LHP coming up which suggests keeping him fresher now

    • burtgummer01

      Perhaps you’d be better off rooting for another team,you’ve become so toxic that you’ve resorted to just out and out lies.
      Passable defense ? He’s second best in the NL In fact his fielding percentage with the Reds is better than Barrero’s with Louisville
      Farmers career batting avg is .251 not great but mlb average is .248
      Your crush on Barrero has turned you into a complete pile

      • Alan Horn

        To be fair, Barreo has much better range than Farmer and will get to balls Farmer won’t. That being said, Farmer is a great fielder on everything he gets to. With both Farmer and Moose on the left side, you are compromised range wise which will allow a lot of balls to get through on the left side. Not a pitcher’s best friend.

  10. Michael Spriggs

    Moose left injured so JB may not actually go back down. As much as I still am unsure he looks ready to hit MLB pitchers it does make sense to bring him up and get him comfortable again with the routine and see how he reacts. I’d love to see him start every game and hit .385 for the rest of the season. I also would hate to see the reaction here to him starting and going 8 for 100 and the Reds lose the WC spot. He could hit worse than the two the team has now. Hopefully AC comes in against lefties and hits abive .300 and next year JB starts fresh and can earn the spot.

    • AMDG

      I’d be more worried about Suarez & Cabrera going 8 for 100.

      Even if Barrero only hits 0.200, with his defense, that’s already a bigger contribution than Suzrez, Cabrera or Moustakas.

      • jay johnson

        The guy he is going to replace is more than likelyFarmer.He has played more than respectable at short and at the plate.The future is the kid no doubt,but we are in a pennant race.
        KKeep in mind all the comments above about destroying the kid is illogical.The guy is a multi millionaire super talented guy with nothing but a bright future ahead.He will survive and if he really is as good as billed he will be a stud.

    • Alan Horn

      He hit better than the two we have now even he was rushed to the majors last season.

  11. beelicker

    The next time (if) they trot Moose out there, if I’m the opposing manager i have my leadoff man simply bunt down the third base line and see how that goes. I’m fairly optimistic at this point that if my guy executes a reasonable bunt it will likely be successful (or Moose breaks down). Then if that goes well and Moose hasn’t left the
    game my next guy bunts that way again. Even if Moose draws in the next guy bunts his way … and then the next guy and then the next guy and …

    • Alan Horn

      Moose’s name fits him. He moves like a Moose. I can’t believe they thought he could range enough to play 2B at the beginning of the season. Thank God India showed up.

    • greenmtred

      Good plan, but I wonder how many teams have multiple guys–or even one guy–who can bunt effectively?

  12. Tim

    I don’t mind this move too much. We would all like to see Barrero get his chance, but right now, playing every day in AAA will help him get back into the groove. Moose is getting better and Farmer has been solid. Barrero will be back very soon and, in the meantime, we’ve picked up a hopeful improvement over Suarez.

  13. TR

    The handling of Jose Barrero has been confusing, and I had joined the chorus recently to bring him up and play him, but it hasn’t happened and I think it’s just as well. Barrero was brought up last year and it was soon evident he was not yet ready for ML pitching. After a lot of back and forth in the offseason, it was decided to stay in house at shortstop. Farmer has done a more than adequate job so far. Let Jose Barrero make his move as the regular Reds shortstop beginning in spring training.

  14. Rod Andrews

    In about 2 weeks time Barrero has gone from the man who was going to move in as starting shortstop and save the day, back to the minors with total loss of confidence, probably never to be regained. Please!!!