The season has begun! That makes my job a little easier because now, I have actual baseball that matters to analyze.

Remember, at least until Joey Votto comes back, the focus here is on the Cincinnati Reds being as interesting as possible while trying to get to winning as quickly as possible.

What’s Going Right:

Spencer Steer and TJ Friedl are playing nearly every day. That’s great. Both, of course, are off to good starts, which helps. Friedl has a 179 wRC+ and Steer has a 137. That’s great, at least so far. Friedl hasn’t taken many walks yet, but it’s much to early to care about that kind of thing.

What’s Going Wrong:

Will Benson is not playing enough. Jose Barrero is not playing enough. Kevin Newman, Jason Vosler, and (maybe) Wil Myers are playing too much.

Listen, Benson has been awful to start the year and so has Barrero. But they each have 14 plate appearances. That’s nothing. Yes, Benson has looked lost and struck out a ton. Barrero has not. He’s struck out three times and none of his in play balls have registered as weak contact. Further, neither Newman or Myers have been setting the world on fire themselves. Myers is, of course, set to be traded as soon as someone wants him, but neither he nor Newman are going to be part of the next good team. (And I would ask those of you who tend in this direction to spare me the “Newman is solid” stuff. He has almost 1700 MLB plate appearances and he has 2.1 WAR. If he is a regular, it means your team is not going to win many games. An average player should have at least 6 WAR over that amount of playing time.)

And of course, there’s Vosler. He’s been a big part of the early season, but one look at his stats and history should tell you it’s not going to last. Think of Aristides Aquino when he came up. Except Vosler doesn’t have that kind of resume.

The point of all of this is not that I think Barrero or Benson are part of the answer for the Reds. The point is I don’t know if they are. I do know the other guys aren’t part of the answer. And I do know playing about half the time isn’t what should be happening with guys who are question marks. If you’ve decided they can’t cut it, move to the next guys in line. Let’s see what Matt McLain can do. Give Stuart Fairchild more opportunities. But don’t make everyday players out of guys who we absolutely know are not everyday players. (Yes, I know Myers needs to play. Put him at first.)

What’s Next:

Soon, Votto is going to be back (no, Vosler is not going to make anything a “tough decision”). Soon, Nick Senzel will at least be ready (though he may be optioned). And soon, one of the other shortstops is going to make his presence felt. (And the Reds might start to have a functional bullpen if they’re lucky, but let’s not dream too big, yet.) Plate appearances are hard to come by now for players who should be getting them. They’re about to get harder. Cincinnati can’t keep wasting consistent playing time on guys who don’t merit it.

What I’m Watching For:

Who can keep it up and can some of the guys who are down, turn it around. When we get to around 150 plate appearances for everyone, we’ll start to have at least some sense of what is and isn’t working. So far the season is interesting. I hope it keeps being interesting.

114 Responses

  1. AMDG

    Agree on both Benson and Barrero.

    Barrero has been making good contact, and his defense is far superior to Newman. Not to mention Newman is hitting under 0.200

    • Melvin

      Kind of took the words right out of my mouth. 🙂

      • Kevin Patrick

        Nowhere in this comment thread has anyone mentioned that Barrero had an early hamstring issue. C’mon people…let Bell do his job.

      • Greenfield Red

        Yes, Barrero had a slight injury, but yes, also, Newman has played on days Barrero could have played.

    • Tom

      Well, you do realize that Votto is not even 8 months post shoulder surgery that was to fix tears and rotator, so that’s jumping the gun a bit my friend!

  2. Takao

    They’re platooning Benson and Fairchild; Fairchild vL and Benson vR. It’s a reasonable approach given everything else, even if I want to see more Benson.

    How they’re treating Barrero just makes 0 sense to me unless they’ve never really believed in him. He’s never truly been given a shot at winning the SS position. Being in a timeshare with Newman doesn’t make any sort of logical sense at this point.

  3. Doc

    Plate appearances for players who merit them. Interesting concept. Where does that put Votto with his AAA average under .150 and his 50+ % K rate. He doesn’t merit PA based on performance at this point, and I very much doubt he will follow through on his pledge that if he can’t cut it any more, he’ll retire. I suspect Myers has a better chance of coming back to prior performance levels than does Votto, at this point.

    • Manuel

      Give the guy a break, He’s coming off of some tough injuries. And we all know that Votto’s hall of fame career and prior 2021 season are enough to “merit” an opportunity.

    • Harry Stoner

      This from the same guy pulling for Pinder and Strickland to make the team despite their ‘performance’.

      And on top of it, he chooses to impune Votto’s integrity as well.

      One more of his comments to file under “Ignore”.

    • Jim Walker

      If Votto were to retire without ever being reactivated, it would have to go into the books as a medical retirement. As such one would think he gets every cent called for in his (guaranteed) contract including quite possibly the $7M buyout on 2024.

      It is the Red call whether or not to activate Votto then his decision on what to do (or not do) based on what the team does.

      • Tom

        You need to realize that Votto had major shoulder surgery not 8 months ago, so he needs time. He’ll be fine in a month

    • Greenfield Red

      Doc, there are lot’s on JV backers out there. I am not one of them. The contract is a disaster for the Reds. Sure there were some go years early on, but what we are getting right now is what we were always going to get at the end.

      I doubt he follows through on his retirement if unable to produce claim.

      • Tom Reeves

        Votto earned every penny of his contract – just not in the same year he was paid. We’re at the end and the money he’s receiving this year was earned years ago. He might be one of the few players who earned a huge contract and actually EARNED it. Of course it’s not going well at this age. To me it’s been awesome to watch a career with a guy who, for a good long time, was the toughest out in baseball.

  4. old-school

    Pretty much spot on Jason. I do like the progress so far of Steer and Friedl. I’d also add we need to see some growth from Greene and getting to the 5th and 6th innings and continued maturity from Lodolo and Ashcraft. The progression of the big 3 and their continued good health will be one of the biggest storylines all year.

  5. Luke J

    I agree with everything except a little bit about Vosler. I am looking at his stats. He hasn’t got much of a shot over the years wherever he’s gone, but when he has played, he has a OPS+ of 108. That means he has been above league average (it’s much higher so far this year, but will likely regress to the mean a bit). Not sure who should be playing ahead of him at first until Votto gets back (if he gets back). If anything, he’s not playing enough. Wil Myers, as you pointed out, is not an answer and shouldn’t be taking playing time at first from Vosler.

    • MBS

      This is the right take on Vosler. Good thing management didn’t think this way about Drury last season. Vosler may fizzle out, or may continue to produce. Let his bat give us the answer.

    • JB

      Who’s to say Votto should play over Vosler. I mean I hope Joey comes around but father time doesn’t lose. Joey hasn’t done anything in AAA since his monster homer. I wish him the best but I would be more surprised if he hits .250 this year. Vosler is a good back up to CES when he is ready. I’ve been saying for over a year that Votto is not getting another season here for 7 million. Not from Bob anyway.

      • Greenfield Red

        He would cost an additional $13 mil. He is owed $7 mil as a buyout, plus $13 if he plays here next year for a total of $20 mil.

  6. Steven Ross

    It’s April 10th. This article would play better, so to speak, on May 10th. Agree on Newman but if you want a better return on Myers, he needs to play. Looked pretty good to me yesterday.

    As for Barrero, last I looked, there’s a guy named Elly De La Cruz waiting in the wings at SS. Per Benson, he has speed, hope he hits and he does look good… striking out.

    Looks to me like Friedl has pushed Senzel out of a job.

    • jon

      I agree 100%. Its April 10th for gods sake.Stop with panic articles after 8 games.Myers has 1 less hit than Steer.

    • Greenfield Red

      I don’t think EDLC will be a factor in MLB until he cuts down his strikeouts more. Barrero needs to play. His strikeouts are ok so far. He has been hitting the ball very well early in the year. He has hit into some bad luck.

  7. Mike in Ottawa

    Pretty much agree. Barrero while he hasn’t gotten a ton of hits, is putting together some decent AB’s . Benson looked lost at the plate in the first couple of games, looked to be starting to get more comfortable the last couple. Wil Myers….how can you watch called third strike, right down the middle? Two or three straight times in a game. I’d rather see you swing and miss two seconds after the ball hits the mitt.

    I subscribe to the when the weather gets warmer club, but Myers needs to show a pulse soon.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Myers looks lost and is not that good in right field. Vosler looks decent and should get some playing time til he isnt. Benson has to settle down a bit. Great defense but he needs more at bats in triple A. Barrero looks way better at the plate than last year and is a slick fielding shortstop. Let him play. Joey is a future hall of famer and you all are whacking him on a few at bats in rehab starts in Louisville. Remember 2021? He needs a shot and if it was up to me, he would stay and Myers would go. The third cacther is a waste and a bust. send Maile down and bring up one of the kids. That’s my Op.

      • bug

        And you are right on the money imho, Jimbo. Let their bats decide. If they hit, play them (unless they are a defensive liability). When they can’t hit the ball, bench them or send them down until they learn how to hit. Wins and losses early on count the same as those toward the end of the season. They are all important. Myers is awful. Time and time again he kills rallies, as does Benson. Play someone else if that’s the case. It’s not rocket science.

  8. Jonathan

    Jose Barrero needs to be 4-5 out of 7 days a week to see what he can do. Newman needs to be a bench player and not play DH ever again.

    hopefully we see Hunter use his changeup within the next month. It would really be nice for him to take that step forward towards being a bona fide number #1 starter

  9. jeffversion1

    I just want to throw in my agreement on Barrero. I shouldn’t get worked up about it, but this just gets to me. It’s absolutely infuriating.

    Of course, considering how well-run the organization is and the amount of money they’re willing to put into the product, they can afford to waste a top prospect or two, so no biggie.

    • jeffversion1

      Yes, the last part is sarcasm.

  10. LDS

    Pretty much agree with you Jason. But the answer to your question: “What to do with the Cincinnati Reds”, you left out 2 things. Sell the team Bob. And fire Bell. I don’t care about the order. Just get them done.

  11. MBS

    I want to see Barrero in the lineup everyday, and Benson not so much. I am a big fan of the kid and his talent, but I’m not starting him over Fraley, Friedl, or Myers. Benson should be the 1st to go down once JV or NS gets back. That will let him get the everyday playing time, and hopefully find his confidence / repair his approach.

    I was already sold on Fraley, but Friedl has changed my opinion on what he can do at the major league level.

    I don’t get the knee jerk reaction people have on pulling vets out of the lineup. I get you want to see youth play, but vets teach youth how to play, and provide some stability for teams. If the vet is batting .200 2+ months into the season that’s a different conversation.

    • Reaganspad

      If Benson does not play, does not develop, and can’t cut it, we wasted a very talented Justin Boyd who will be able to do all 3

      • MBS

        I think he should play at AAA until something opens up for him.

    • Redsvol

      I’ve been a member of the TJ friedl fan club for a long time. The guy is an absolute ball player. Good things happen when he is in lineup. I compare him to Brett Gardner of the Yankees – lots more popular players on his teams but when he left his prime the Yankees quit consistently winning.

      Senzel would need an ops of .950 over 30 days for me to think we’d be better with him over friedl on the team. Senzel is going to have to prove it I’ve an extended period of time.

      • Jim Walker

        At this point, I think Senzel is playing to get himself onto the active roster in any capacity. He may have a leg up on Fairchild to be Fraley’s platoon partner by virtue of also being able to play a couple of infield spots. However, Fairchild has cobbled together a performance (.462 OBP) in limited PT that would seem to put him in favor for more PT in his own right.

      • Pete

        @jimwalker- right now I’d play Friedl in LF, Fairchild in CF, and Fraley in RF. Pretty much everyday until further notice….

  12. Brian Rutherford

    Great article Jason. Echoing an earlier post, I would like to add the top 3 starters to the list as something that is going right. I think Hunter Greene is too good and too smart to not figure this out. H was already better in start 2 than start one and he is still early enough in his career that he is still learning to incorporate different pitches and learning how to be a complete pitcher at the ML level.

    I resolutely admit that the team has all the inside information about players but just to echo your thoughts about Barrero, we HAVE to figure out what we have in him as a player. If one of the youngsters down in the minors starts to play well enough to merit a call up, we need to have given the guy a couple of months of consistent playing time to make the decision hard or easy whichever the case.

    Fun team to watch and should even be more fun as the guys in the minors start to arrive.

  13. J

    I think people are a bit too quick to hit the “we know exactly what we’re going to get with so-and-so” button. That same argument would have kept Drury on the bench (or off the roster entirely) last season. Farmer got considerably better when he started playing more. Lots of guys go from being mediocre (or bad) hitters in their mid 20s to being decent (or good) hitters in their late 20s and early 30s. Some of them make adjustments, and some of those adjustments work. And some guys go in the opposite direction. Moose had impressive stats until he suddenly forgot how to hit. When you’re talking about a guy who’s 38 and has been doing the same thing for several years, that’s one thing, but when you’re talking about guys who’ve never had extended opportunities to start, and/or are reaching the age when some players finally “get it,” it doesn’t make sense to automatically assume “they are what they are.” With those kinds of players, it’s a good idea to take a look at what they’re actually doing on the field and evaluate — instead of just checking a stat and assuming that’s all you need to know about them.

  14. old-school

    Newman is a fantastic bench piece and utility player. But, he should not be starting over Barrero. At this point in time in this franchise with this roster blow up, it makes zero sense for Newman to play SS over Barrero. Barrero had a strong spring training and has been playing great defense.

    Its a very short sample size, but Barrero’s batted ball data validate the eye test- hes seeing the ball better, competing better each at bat and giving more quality at bats. the results arent there yet. Maybe they wont ever be but now is the time to find out.

    EV is 90.3( up from 87.5)
    xBA .259(up from .140)
    Hard hit rate 36.4%
    K rate 21%( improved from 40.7)

    Newman isnt tearing the cover off the ball


    EV 85.7(16% in MLB)
    HH rate 26%

    His at bats yesterday were poor, including the broken bat dribbler back to Walker with runners on with an exit velo of 58 mph. He made an error earlier in the week, and should have been charged with one yesterday.

    Barrero needs to play SS 8 games out of 10. Hes not blocking anyone yet at AAA. The only one blocking him is Bell and Newman. If you werent going to play Barrero, then just keep Farmer and bat him 3rd and play SS and be done with it.
    Organizational schizophrenia to trade farmer, have barrero make some progress and then bench him behind a cheaper version of Farmer without the bigger bat against lefties or the leadership/clubhouse/fandom value

    • Redsvol

      I agree – if he is healthy. I think he is nursing something and we will start to see him play more soon.

      But if he is healthy, barerro needs 500 at bats this year – with most coming at shortstop. Then, re-evaluate him in the off season.

      Problem I see with this is they will be under pressure to not have too many Mendoza line hitters when Votto comes back and I’m afraid Votto may be a huge hole in the lineup when he returns.

    • Redsvol

      I agree – if he is healthy. I think he is nursing something and we will start to see him play more soon.

      But if he is healthy, barerro needs 500 at bats this year – with most coming at shortstop. Then, re-evaluate him in the off season.

      Problem I see with this is they will be under pressure to not have too many Mendoza line hitters when Votto comes back and I’m afraid Votto may be a huge hole in the lineup when he returns.

    • greenmtred

      I want to see Barrero play short but, as Kevin Patrick points out above, he recently had to leave a game with a hamstring issue and we don’t know how much of a factor that is now. He was, in this very young season, getting a fair amount of playing time prior to that.

      • Melvin

        “he recently had to leave a game with a hamstring issue and we don’t know how much of a factor that is now.”

        As you might recall though, David Bell said after that game that had Barrero been playing SS that day he would have left him in. Barrero did pinch run recently also which makes one think his hamstring is not bothering him very much.

      • greenmtred

        As evidenced by his starting at short tonight. It’s certainly possible that the hamstring felt worse the day following the game; injuries often do that. But maybe the hamstring had nothing to do with it.

  15. SultanofSwaff

    Yes, this is an interesting team. There is real talent and I’m quietly optimistic they can hover around .500 or just below with reinforcements arriving midseason.

    For the most part I like Bell’s usage patterns for position players. Fairchild needs more ABs though. On the pitching side, Young has impressed so far and could plausibly be the 8th inning guy for now. They desperately need Sims and Santillan back.

    Thank you for your comments on the quality of Barrero’s at-bats. Some of the commenters here make me wonder if they even watch the games or just look at the box scores.

  16. Jim t

    Good points by many in the thread. But here is another idea, if Benson and Barrera want more playing time force the issue my playing better when you get an opportunity. I’m 69 years old and in my day it seems players earned their opportunities with their play. I guess I’m tired of the rebuild mentality. Play the best players who give you the best chance to win the freaking game.

    • MBS

      Stop making sense Jim, If we all are so reasonable then how will we be able to argue.

    • CI3J

      No, that is exactly the wrong attitude to have.

      Anyone who claims that Newman has “earned” the right to play over Barrero is using the same short-sighted reasoning that Bell is using.

      It’s not a question of who has “earned” the right to play, it’s just the simple matter of we know who Newman is: a mediocre journeyman who is not going to be part of the next great Reds team. We have not seen enough of Barrero yet to know what he can do at the MLB level. His minors stats indicate he could be a great player if ever given consistent, non-injured playing time. Barrero has not even had 300 ABs in MLB yet, and some people (probably Bell included) think he’s a bust.

      Why do you care if Newman has “earned” the right to play? He’s not a great player, he’s not going to make this team a winner, and he’s not going to be here in a year or two. Whereas Barrero could be a great player, and will be here for the next 5 years at least. Bell, and some of the posters on here, need to start thinking about the future, not just the game tomorrow.

      None of the journeymen currently on this team are good enough to lead the Reds to the promised land, but the young players they are blocking might be. We need to let those young players play every day and see what they can do.

      Barrero needs to be the starting SS all day, every day, no questions asked, and he needs to be allowed to get at least 400 ABs this year, no matter what his stats are. He needs a string of consistent starts to get his timing down and his confidence up, and he needs to see more MLB pitchers to see if he can adjust to them. The Reds need to find out what they have in Barrero, to see if he can be the SS of the future. Honestly, this question should have been resolved when Barrero first came up, but of course Bell decided to bench the red-hot Barrero in order to let the mediocre Farmer keep getting ABs, and it looks like Bell intends to do the same with Newman.

      It’s pure, short-sighted mismanagement. How will we ever find out if our kids can play in the MLB if they are never given a chance? What’s the point of having a great farm system if you never let those players play?

      And the real kicker is, how can you claim any player has “earned” the right to play over another player after just 8 games? Holy small sample size, Batman!

      • JB

        How has Newman earned it? Because he is a vet? He started on the AA team called the pirates. If only” earned it” players can play then I guess shortstop is unmanned at this time.

      • Jim t

        @cI3j, you may want to consider that this is a team. There are 25 players on this team all trying to be part of a winning team while carving out a career as a professional athlete. I’m all for giving young players opportunities but it’s not unlimited. The first priority of the team is to win. Not hold try outs. Especially this early in the season.

        My experience rather in my 20 years in the military or 30 years in industry is that a mix of young and veteran pieces work best. It also helps when all the players feel like they are treated equally and have earned those opportunities.

      • MBS

        @CI3J, Who said Newman has earned it? He only said that players should earn playing time, not be given playing time. Vosler has been playing well, so he has earned playing time. Friedl is earning his playing time over Benson. There are no participation ribbons in the MLB.

        Neither Barrero or Newman have been declared the starter, and neither has earned it yet.

        “And the real kicker is, how can you claim any player has “earned” the right to play over another player after just 8 games? Holy small sample size, Batman!”

        Lets not act like we only have 8 games to judge Barrero, he’s been up for parts of 3 seasons. I’m still pulling for him, but he’s never looked good.

        If I were filling out the lineup card, Barrero would be in the lineup 7 of 9 games, 5 at SS, 2 CF. Newman would get 4 of 9 as SS, 1 at 2B, and 1 @ 3B.

  17. DW

    It is great to see so many comments wanting Barrero playing every day. He needs to be the full time SS and Newman a utility guy off the bench. And I would much rather see Fraley starting against a lefty than Newman…stop DHing Newman in the five hole.

  18. John

    Impressed with a 4-4 start:)

    Plenty to like the OF is good, Benson I want him to figure it out so bad.

    TJ Hopkins could swap places with him, I think Nick Senzel has put up a good little triple a campaign.

    I think the hottest debate will be then 1B
    Obviously we believe will Myers will return to normal levels. Volser is interesting he has like 10rbis like it’s hard to bench clutch people you have to reward them.

    Votto is hitting bad, striking out an insane amount. His exit velocity is up which is a plus side he is t done but while I know it’s triple a that’s scary. I am a big reds fan and been a big votto fan, really hope he can put a nice ending season. But with his stats it’s telling us he can’t catch up to the mlb level

  19. AMDG

    Is there any standard rule on how long they can keep a player on a rehab assignment if he is ‘healthy’?

    Specifically, how long can the Reds keep Votto in AAA before they have to call him up?

    I like seeing offensive production from first base, and wonder how long we’ll get to enjoy that before they slot Votto into that spot?

    • Jim Walker

      Rehabs for position players are 20 days. I believe that is 20 calendar days and not 20 game days. I presume Votto’s 20 days started when Louisville’s season started on April 1. My understanding of the rehab rule is that a player is limited to 20 days for the entire length of a stay on the IL, .i.e Votto would have to be activated and then returned to the IL to get a new 20 day rehab stay,

      A player can remain on the IL when a rehab stay expires or is terminated versus being reactivated.

  20. Fanman

    Barrero tweaked his hamstring. Thought maybe why he hasn’t been playing. Then yesterday he pinch ran. Let him play and Newman fill in here and there. Votto is traditionally a slow starter. So, let him iron it out in Louisville. Like Benson’s potential.

  21. old-school

    Votto has had a full spring training by now. AAA Louisville has an off day today then a 6( gulp) game road trip to Toledo. Is Votto really going to spend 5+ nights in Toledo at a minor league venue?

    • Jim Walker

      Votto isn’t coming to the MLB active list with a K rate >50% in 31 plate appearances and a .226 OBP versus AAA pitching. And it is not like he is improving on that. He has struck out at least 2x in all 7 of his game appearances at Louisville and 3x in 3 of the games.

      Maybe they call him in off rehab to save the remaining time and try something different like video and cage work at GABP. Also, I believe he could go back to Arizona and work on stuff at the extended spring training; and, if the complex league has started he could get ABs there without burning rehab time.

  22. Optimist

    It’s an odd comment, but I hope Barrero is hurt. Just enough of a hamstring issue that he needs to sit a bit until it resolves. There really is no other reason, and the idea of shifting positions in MLB is not a good one. Keep him at SS this season and use next winter to sort out the backlog in MiLB.

  23. Manuel

    Well stated and agree wholeheartedly. We do know about Newman and Vosler. We don’t know about Barrero or Benson. Start them for 30 or 40 games and check outcomes. Bell’s managing as if Vosler and Newman will be the difference in the Reds making the playoffs. This is a season for development.

    • 2020ball

      If a manager isnt playing to win then he’s the worst manager any team can ever have. I’m certain the players agree, none of them are putting in their best effort so the manager can play the youngsters the fans happen to like. The point is to win, not fast track prospects without them earning it

      • CI3J

        The team lost 100 games last season with Bell’s “win now” mind-set.

        So yeah, how’s that going?

      • 2020ball

        That such an easy thing to just say with no content behind it that I dont even feel the need to respond to it, well done.

      • greenmtred

        Cl3J: are you Bell’s therapist? You seem to have considerable–and one would have thought–privileged information about his mindset.

      • CI3J


        What other reason would Bell have for playing the vets over the kids other than he thinks the vets give the team a better chance to win now?

        It’s not rocket surgery.

      • greenmtred

        Cl3J: injuries to various players could, of course, be a reason. Another is that a team really does have to give all players playing time; they will all be needed at some point. Also, if there is any plan to trade some of the vets, they need to be showcased. There also could be player development issues; I have no experience with that, but it may be that the team feels that it makes sense to ration match-ups that will likely lead to failure. I don’t know. Nor do I know that all of these decisions are made by Bell.

  24. Jim Walker

    An issue I see with the Reds is when it comes to roster construction, they haven’t quite managed to get both feet into rebuild mode.

    Thus they end up with guys like Newman, Myers, and the third catcher taking up 3 of their 13 position player spots and sucking up between $11-$12.5m in payroll, depending on whether Maile or Casali is the third wheel behind the plate. If the prospects aren’t quite ready to fill these spots at MLB, sign up some of the plethora of 4A guys at or near minimum as gap bridgers.

    Ironically Vosler is one of those 4A types they should be getting on the cheap to fill in; but, for whatever reason, the manager is looking to expand his role into being a regular at the cost of playing time for Benson or Fairchild by using Vosler at 1B instead of Myers.

    • MBS

      As Robert Downey Jr. said “Never go full rebuild”.

    • Scott C

      I have no problem with Vosler getting the playing time he is getting. Play him while he’s hot. When he comes back to earth, sit him. What I have an issue with is the two “big signings” Myers and Newman neither is hitting much over .180. Barrero should be starting at ss until it is proven he can’t hit, he is certainly a defensive upgrade. Sit Myers a day or two and give Benson a couple of starts in a row. An the other one, Weaver has been on DL so far but certainly didn’t light it up in spring training.

  25. LGR

    I’d like to see Friedl get a crack at the leadoff spot. 2 years ago it made sense to let India hit leadoff. He had all star Castellanos and Winker hitting behind him to score some runs. They don’t have that consistency 2-3-4 at the moment. I’d really like to see what India can do as one of the main rbi opportunity guys in the lineup. I like the chances of a Friedl bunt hit, a steal, then India, Fraley and Stephenson being able to get him in.

    • DW

      I agree LGR. I would love to see Friedl leading off and India given more RBI opportunities in either the two or three hole.

  26. Brian

    I disagree with all that’s listed under going wrong. Newman and Myers should play early in hopes of building trade value, maybe you can package them mid season for a tad better prospect. Other teams will have injuries and the extended wild card keeps more teams in the race. Vosler has pounded some balls and Votto isn’t available, where’s the issue there? Barrero and Benson can have more AB’s when they force themselves into the lineup with production or after the trade deadline. Why the rush? Playing half of the games and looking bad doesn’t scream play that guy.

  27. RedBB

    Benson does not deserve more AB’s sorry….Fairchild does.

  28. David

    In a few weeks, CES will be playing again, full time. If he starts tearing up AAA like he was tearing up pitching in Spring Training (or even a close reasonable facsimile), then the Reds have another question at hand.

    Do they bring Joey back, with his now AAA low BA and all those strikeouts, or do they bring up CES to DH and play 1st base?
    In the meantime, I would continue to play Benson in the outfield (and also try to play Fairchild too) and then figure out who goes down when either Joey or Senzel comes back. And does CES merit a promotion if he hits well? Because he is a young guy and he is what the rebuild is really all about.

    The other interesting thing that is happening is that Stephenson is tearing the cover off the ball, so to speak. Does he go back to playing half the games at Catcher, or continue to DH, play 1st and catch once or twice a week? The theory about him “not catching” was that his offensive value would go up… which it has. This is also the theory about why the Reds have three catchers.

  29. Old Big Ed

    Barrero also had what appears to be a minor hamstring issue. It was probably wise to keep him out a couple of days, which would explain a lot of his non-usage over the past few days.

    • LarkinPhillips

      IF the hamstring is the cause, would pitch running him make sense? To me those two are counterproductive and one has to be false. Either the hamstring isn’t the reason he is not playing or pitch running him with a bad hamstring put him at more risk.

  30. Kevin H

    Newman is a solid major league short stop who has a great glove. Doesn’t matter what the “war” Saya. Newman is a solid major league short stop. Not sure why people suggest Barrero should play over him. SS position used to be about defense and not so much hitting. Also Jeff Brantley has said Newman is best ss reds have right now.

    • CI3J

      If your argument is “Newman is a better defensive SS than Jose Barrero”, you are going to lose that argument.

      By every defensive metric, and the ol’ “eye test” (ugh), Barrero is better. He is widely regarded as the best defensive SS in the entire Reds’ system.

  31. Brian

    Vosler 24 AB’s and 1.072 OPS
    Myers 22 AB’s and .555 OPS
    Benson 15 AB’s and .192 OPS
    Newman 22 AB’s and .535 OPS
    Barrero 14 AB’s and .432 OPS

    How in the world is Vosler playing too much when he is producing double the other guys and Votto not available?
    Myers is hitting better than Benson and the idea is to build the Myers trade value. How has Benson forced more playing time? Maybe more AAA playing time!
    Newman is never gonna have much trade value so I can see giving Barrero equal AB’s with Newman and that’s a great opportunity to take the job if he can.
    I just don’t see any huge issues with current play time after 8 games. Matchups come into play too.

  32. Chris Holbert

    Why would Krall ever bring EDLC up to the Reds, if/when he gets going well at AAA? He will sit the bench while the veteran presence gets ABs. Barrero was the star of the future’s games a couple years back and tearing up AAA, he was called up and sat, lost any mojo he had, while veterans played. Do they really know how good (or not) JB can be consistently without playing regularly? If the are building for the future, Newman is not it, he has historically been below average, does that really help with the future? If Newman is in there to help with wins, do wins this year really matter this year, the organization has lead fans down the path of no.

    • Redsvol

      Because he wants to sell tickets and keep his job as GM if the Reds. There are only 30 jobs in the world like it.

    • Kevin H

      He sat cause he couldn’t hit mlb pitching. Still can’t hit mlb pitching

      • Chris Holbert

        How does anyone know? As said before he has less than 400 MLB ABs and probably a third of those after a wrist injury. With a career 78 OPS, one could argue that Newman cannot hit MLB pitching. and he has over 1500 MLB ABs, and he will guarantee not be a part of the next good Reds team. They need to know if JB has the chance to be.

      • 2020ball

        Barrero’s career OPS+ is 15. He’s still getting his chances.

      • 2020ball

        And why y’all dont think Newman can be a part of a good team is so ridiculous I can’t even fathom it. He’s great as bench player, we are all waiting for someone to force him to the bench.

      • AMDG

        With Newman, the Reds know what they have – a poor man’s Kyle Farmer. Over the past 3 seasons Newman has a 66 OPS+ and adequate defense.

        With Barrero, the Reds don’t know what they have. He’s got superior defense and far more power potential than Newman, but we don’t know if it will develop.

        He was awesome in the minors in 2021 only to get benched after a callup. Played injured in 2022. And this year is showing better command of the strike zone and is making solid contact (exit velo 8 mph higher than Newman, and 50% more hard hit balls than Newman) but is not getting an opportunity.

        If the Reds don’t want to see if Barrero can sink or swim, but want to doggie paddle with Newman until EDLC is ready, they should trade Barrero to a team who will give him that opportunity to sink or swim.

  33. Kevin H

    I also think this article is way to early. Reds are 4-4 on April 10th. To get all worked up over stats so early is abit of a stretch. I would be curious to see same article come up in June 1st. More time to make informed decisions about players. Etc

  34. old-school

    Jason, your text to David Bell got through. Lineup is out. Nice work.

  35. Roger Garrett

    We know about Newman who has close to 1600 at bats in the big league.He is on a one year deal for 2.7 million dollars and he plays a defense first position.HIs glove and range is not any better then Barrero’s and I would argue Jose has the edge.Newman is 4 years older so what are we doing?Reds need to find out about Barrero this year and hopefully Newman starting more games at short so far will not continue.If it does then it just points to the fact Bell is not the answer to manage a team in transition from older players to younger ones.Wins or losses matter very little.What matters is who on this team will be part of the next 4 or 5 years.Newman nor Barrero are the savior on offense for this team and it makes little difference if they hit 220 or 280 but Barrero needs the at bats against major league pitchers.

    • 2020ball

      Newman is controllable through arbitration until 2025

  36. 2020ball

    Here’s a shocker of a statement regarding Newman/Barrero, how about Bell plays both? All players on the roster should be getting playing time, those who start are those that earned it because they’ve helped the team win more than the other options. Age, organizational standing, fan’s happiness meters – none of that matters.

    The problem isn’t the time split at SS, especially if JB has a minor injury, what I’d rather see talked about is Fairchild compared to Benson and Myers. Even in that case Fairchild has still been getting playing time.

    • CI3J

      Newman should be a utility player, nothing more. The only reason Newman should ever play is if another player is injured and/or needs rest.

      85% of the time, Barrero should be at SS.

  37. docproc

    Someone needs to tell Myers to stand closer to the plate, hit outside strikes to right field, and lay off outside breaking balls in the dirt.

    Teams are consistently pitching him away and he and/or the batting coach haven’t seemed to notice and correct for it.

    • David

      I have not been watching the games, so have no idea what Myers is doing. But he was promoted as a guy that used to hit well, then played in Petco and lost some of his hitting mojo, which he thought to recover in the Friendly Confines of GAB, with a Red’s friendly contract.
      Looking at his number (actually), he has been in decline, and whether that is injury or natural career decline is…Unknown. But if he is in natural decline, then the Reds have bought a pig in a poke. But again….8 games played. This is all so premature.
      Let’s talk about this in May 1st, and see what shakes out then.
      If Myers has a couple of big days in the next week…the subject is moot.

    • LarkinPhillips

      +1000. I have been saying this to my TV since the start of spring training. I don’t understand how he hasn’t made an adjustment at all yet.

      • docproc

        Glad it’s not just me. Seems so obvious.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Doc, so glad someone else noticed that. Any further away and he’s in the dugout. He gets two strikes on him faster than Aquino did. At least Aquino could play defense. Why oh why did we ever sign this guy?

  38. Mark Moore

    Good comments to think about all the way around, but I’ll side with the ones who think it’s too early. So, in answer to the title question, I say we wait it out.

    Atlanta trip will be a tough test for our pitchers and players. We’ve shown times when we “can” so it remains to see if we “will”.

  39. MK

    Can’t imagine the promotion of a AAA player with a .147 Batting Average with 17 Ks in 31 plate appearances making this team more interesting to me. I don’t thing Vosler will stand In Votto’s way of returning but there is 25 million reasons for that. But for my expectations of a less than great team season Vosler’s success has made it more interesting.

    • wkuchad

      I don’t think Votto should come up until he’s ready, but comparing him to an AAA player is ridiculous.

  40. Tom Reeves

    Barrero playing SS tonight and is 2/3 so far. Not bad.

  41. Tom Reeves

    And there went Barrero’s hamstring again. Maybe Bell should have continued to rest him.

  42. Collin

    I am going to say something that will get a lot of you mad. These last two series have been against VERY good teams. Our team has continued to battle and play close baseball. The bullpen will be better in a month’s time, and our hitting is outstanding to start the year. Bell cannot be blamed for bullpen losses when he sends guys out there he trusts. Gibaut and others have played well. Law should be fine. When Santillan and Sims come back, we will have a league average pen, ++ rotation (Especially if Abbott goes to the rotation and Cessa to the pen), and a league average lineup if Barrero puts it all together. I am confident we are a 75 win team with a strong outlook if our bullpen is healthy by May.