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.