The Cincinnati Reds were hoping to get infielder Matt McLain back from injury rehab this afternoon. The club sent McLain to Triple-A Louisville for a 2-game stint over the weekend and if things went well the plan was to activate him today prior to the series in Cleveland against the Guardians. Things did not go well. Prior to today’s game it was announced that he would miss the year with a grade 2 strain of his oblique – confirmed by an MRI (first reported by Mark Sheldon of Reds.com).

Perhaps the first sign that things weren’t looking great was when McLain did not complete the game in Louisville on Sunday – though it simply could have been a situation where the team pulled him because they didn’t want to risk injury and felt he “got his at-bats”. The second sign that things weren’t looking great came earlier today when the lineup for Cincinnati was released and McLain wasn’t in it. While it’s possible he could simply have been ready to come off of the bench, he’s arguably been the best hitter on the team this year and that wouldn’t make a ton of sense.

“It was just kind of like ‘this really hurts’, then the next day it really hurt and I was pulled from the game,” McLain said about his Saturday and Sunday with Louisville prior to this evening’s game in Cleveland.

“It definitely sucks. I knew it would be tough to come back. And I knew it would be really quick to come back with the level it was in the first place, but I really wanted to for our team. It just didn’t happen, unfortunately.”

With the end of the rookie season for Matt McLain, you can chalk it up to a very successful one – even if it didn’t end how he would have liked it to. The infielder played in 89 games after his call up in mid-May and hit .290/.357/.507 with 23 doubles, 4 triples, 16 home runs, 14 stolen bases, 65 runs, and 50 RBI. For those are like this kind of stuff, he had 3.6 WAR (Baseball Reference) / 3.2 WAR (Fangraphs). You can see his stats here.

67 Responses

  1. Jim Walker

    This Reds organization never ceases to amaze me. India is running on half a wing and a prayer. McLain reaggravates his injury on Saturday, confirmed on Sunday, and on Monday Kevin Newman is DFA. What am I missing here?

    • wkuchad

      I was wondering the same thing. Maybe we’re not scheduled to face anymore lefty starters this year. I know the Guardians are both righties. Not sure about the Cardinals. No lefties means Newman not needed I guess. But why not keep him for a week and try to trade him this offseason?

      We also still have Steer that can play 2B competently.

      • Jim Walker

        India can’t go on and Steer moves to 2B what does that do to total team depth? Who plays LF. Who is backup SS (if answer is Marte then who is 3b with Marte at SS and Steer at 2b etc),

        And as of 345pm they have not announce anybody for the 40 man spot cleared by the Newman DFA?

      • Chris

        Jim, I’m not sure the Reds thank of you as a guy who needs to be informed of all these internal moves before they officially announce them. 🙂

      • Jim Walker

        @Chris, Reds roster moves are typically posted on Twitter by he beatwriters and official Reds Twitter by 345pm for a 6:40 start let alone a 6:10 start like tonight.

      • JB

        CES can play 3rd or Senzel. I mean no big deal. It’s not like the Reds are going to make the playoffs. Plenty of guys to play different positions. I would rather watch any of them than watch Newman. Man some of you complain about anything.

    • Doc

      The team has been playing without either McClain or Newman for a month or so. How is playing without them the next five games any different? Neither of them would have been available from the bullpen anyway, and that is where the problem has been.

  2. Melvin

    Don’t forget about Fraley. As you said in a previous post Jim, will they swallow there pride and bring up Barrero?

    • RedsMonk65

      That would be the logical move, but probably not likely. Sigh.

      I know the players want it (winning, success, the playoffs). Not so sure about those who run the team.

      • Melvin

        An argument could be made that Barrero is much better than EDLC at the moment and we KIND OF need to win right now.

      • Jim Walker

        +10000 Sometimes they act like they are more concerned that they will win despite everything than concerned they won’t

      • Doc

        The argument cannot be made very convincingly that Barrero is a lot better than EDLC right now. AAA accomplishments are not comparable to MLB accomplishments. Henry Ramos anybody?

        How easily one forgets that just a few weeks ago people were calling for Marte to be sent down, saying he is not ready. Doesn’t look now like that would have been a smart move.

        Compare Barrero’s MLB record to EDLC’s MLB record. Who has performed better at the MLB level? By the way, in which MLB game did Barrero record his 30th steal, or his 10th HR, or his first cycle?

        I like Barrero. I still remember attending the game in Goodyear when as Jose Garcia he hit a pitch totally out of the stadium in left field. Cleared the wall. Cleared the berm. Cleared the concrete walking path. Cleared the security fence. Phenomenal shot. But, I can’t realistically say he is performing better than EDLC at present. They are not playing the same game.

        Would I like to see Barrero up? Sure would. But I wouldn’t expect much. Five games are too few to adjust. I hope he smokes the league in spring training with a healed hamate, and makes it impossible to leave him off the squad in 2024 but for now, dance with the one who ‘brung’ you.

      • Melvin

        All of those guys now came up because they were hot on AAA including EDLC. We’re talking right now. The next five games.

    • wkuchad

      I really don’t think bringing up Barrero will cause the Reds to swallow their pride.

      • Melvin

        Well good. Bring him up. It’s in your hands. I give it to you. 🙂

    • Rick

      Yes, bring him up would use him.
      I do not understand it. Maybe him & Bell had an issue? Other coaches or a player?

    • JB WV

      If bringing Barrero up will somehow kick start the offense, we’re in really bad shape.

      • Melvin

        Well he’s been hot. Others who have came up hot this year have helped a lot. Besides, can he really do much worse than EDLC right now? What have we got to lose?

    • Chris

      How would bringing up Barrero be swallowing pride? I don’t think he is a worthwhile option. We don’t need someone who strikes out almost 40% of the time in AAA on the Reds. He’s done, thankfully.

      • MK

        Who knows if he is still in the country. Since he spends winters in the Dominican he might have flown there already,

  3. Rednat

    again we have young position players. can they physically handle the rigors of an mlb season? will the league “figure them out”? do we have a bunch of Aquinos, Winkers, Hamiltons?

    the pitching is fine. the number 1 priority for the off season is to get as many solid veteran position players as we can.

    • JB WV

      I’m sure the Orioles are glad they didn’t do what you suggest two years ago.

      • Redsvol

        Agreed JB. A bunch of veteran position players is exactly what to avoid in todays mlb. I do agree however that we need some veteran staring pitchers.

        On offense, we need a constant flow of young, speedy players that can field multiple positions at an above average clip.

      • JB WV

        I’d like to see one solid veteran added to the starting rotation. Hoping that Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Abbot and Williamson all stay relatively healthy next year but chances are some will miss time. Phillips is very promising but could use some honing in AAA. Can’t have enough pitching, ever.

    • Doc

      Didn’t we have a bunch of veteran position players for the last ten years or so? Where did that get us? It’s only when we got rid of them and played the kids that the sun started to shine again.

    • Chris

      Why would you go out and get a bunch of veteran players? Have you even watched this team this year? The only reason this team has remotely competed is because of all the young players. Where are you suggesting these veterans play? And if your option is the bench, you know darn well Bell can’t resist playing them.

  4. David

    Kind of funny that the Reds’ “Top Men” knew the status of Matt McLain and still let Kevin Newman go.

    And maybe…Kevin Newman knew this too, and when he was not activated, was furious at the Reds and asked his agent to demand the Reds give him his release.

    And if the Reds brought up Jose Barrero, would David Bell even play him, knowing Bell’s obvious dislike for him?
    Playoffs? The Reds might win one or two more games this season. They aren’t going to any playoffs. Sorry, but that boat sailed when they lost last Wednesday, blew the game that Hunter left with the lead. And the final nail was last Saturday night. What a fiasco that was.

  5. Rick

    I was so looking forward to Matt’s return to watch him play:(

    • David

      Wait ’till next year!!!

      We’ll show ’em!

      I mean, where else are you going to go to watch Major League Baseball? (something that Phil Castellini might say…)

  6. Tim

    His injury has been a huge setback for the team. Let’s hope for no sophomore slump for him and our other rookies next year.

    • JB WV

      CES and Marte got called up this year about the same time Steer did last year. That experience certainly helped him going into this year and he’s been our most dependable hitter from start to finish. Hopefully CES and Marte can do the same and with a full spring knowing they’ll make the club. Elly as well. I think the hot spotlight has worn him down mentally and the offseason will help him put things in perspective.

  7. DaveCT

    Objectively, this points in a certain direction.

    India has a history of injuries that will likely continue.

    While in the minors, the Were concerned with MCLain wearing down.

    Whether late season fatigue had anything to do with the oblique injuries or not, it’s a possibility.

    And given these factors, keeping the 2B depth of both India and McLain should be maintained.

    Further, given the learning curves of Elly and, in all likelihood, Marte, as well as the limitations of Senzel (ie platoon splits) and Barrero (K’s), it is beneficial to keep this depth in place as well.

    Steer will be needed in the OF and infield corners, and CES is slotted for 1B/DH duties.

    My editorial comment is this: Keep both India and McLain, as well as Elly and Barrero for the middle infield.

    Keep Marte, Steer, CES, Senzel, (and Elly at 3B) for the corners.

    Between injuries, slumps, rests and the DH. There will be plenty of at bats to go around.

    • DaveCT

      Dang … “While in the minors, the Reds were concerned with MCLain wearing down.

      • VaRedsFan

        Where was this reported? Source?

      • DaveCT

        From the BA scouting reports (subscriber):

        “But if he’s asked to make those throws regularly, his average arm begins to wear down to fringe-average.”

        “Scouts loved McLain’s competitiveness and all-out style of play, but that high-energy style also makes it harder for him to hold up, as he’s a smaller framed player without a lot of functional strength.”

        “The offseason should give McLain a chance to work on gaining strength to help him hold up over the much longer pro seasons.”

    • MBS

      The wear down over a 162 season is real, but I think we got the horses to make it through a season. I have no appetite for hanging onto Senzel or Barrero, I don’t see them as depth pieces as much as remnants of a failed rebuild.

      1B CES / Stephenson / (Steer)
      2B India / Marte / McLain / (Steer)
      3B EDLC / Marte / CES / (Steer)
      SS McLain / Marte / EDLC

      We got 3 or more on the depth chart for every infield position with out keeping Barrero, or Senzel. If we were to get 2 major injuries we are still covered, and if we get a 3rd infielder on the IL at the same time I like Lopez in AAA to come in as the emergency infield replacement.

      If I’m going to go overly deep, it’s in the OF, and mostly because of how much Bell like to platoon his LHB’s. All of our LHB’s are OF, so having a compliment of RHB in the OF seems like the plan.

  8. LDS

    I was in favor of shutting him down along with others. Had they done so, McLain would not have aggravated his injury. The odds of making the playoffs was remote as of a few days ago. Now do the same with Fraley, India, Abbott, and the rest. Bring up Barrero and Hurtubise and let the chips fall as they will.

    • Melvin

      Hurtibise has been the hottest hitter down there for weeks. If I’m not mistaken he can play CF if need be. Don’t know how good his defense is.

      • Pete

        Hurtibise provides everything but power. Let’s see what he has…

    • Jim Walker

      I doubt we will see Hurtubise if for no other reason than he has been announced for the Arizona Fall League.

      However, even something that announcement mundane could not be handled with a foot in the mouth foul up by the Reds organization. Hurtubise was on the official roster submitted to MLB (which runs the AFL) which was tweeted out by the MLB publicity staff. However, minutes after the MLB tweet, the Reds Twitter account tweeted out the list of Reds prospects going to the AFL without Hurtubise on their listing. Instead, he had been replaced by fellow OF prospect Blake Dunn.

      It took an hour or so but eventually, the Reds Twitter corrected itself that Hurtubise was going to AFL. Still, this whole fracas begs the question of who had the Reds originally intended to send. The person on the official roster or the person the organization internally published as going. Inquiring minds wonder.

      • Jim Walker

        Boy, my 1st sentence of para #2 came out as bad as the Reds Twitter. We must use the same real time autocorrect 😉

  9. Optimist

    These are all professional ballplayers, with years of experience, and much in the Reds system. None of this should be surprising.

    As to who to call up – Barrero makes the most sense, Lopez next, and for just a flyer – Hurtubise or Dunn. Yes the latter 2 would require some 40-man roster moves, but they’ve clearly shown they’re willing to do that.

    The intrigue is obviously staying in the race, so I’d expect Barrero or Lopez.

    • Pete

      I’m guessing after tonight, the dream of staying in the race is kaput. The sooner the better if it would mean actually playing some of the guys that we haven’t seen yet. Blake Dunn in particular.

      Dunn look wore down for the last 10 games of the season. Obviously he hasn’t played a lot of baseball prior to this year in quite a while. But now he’s had 10 days off and I’d really like to take a look at him. Honestly, even if the Reds were up by two games, I believe theReds will be on the outside looking in. David Bell has proven time and again that when the pressures on he is totally ineffective managing the ball club. I could see them possibly winning as many two of the games remaining but if anyone wanted to lay money on it I could see us getting swept all five. The bigger the game, the bigger the face plant.

  10. Votto4life

    2.5 games back with 5 to play. It’s a good move. The only question remaining for this season is whether or not the Reds finish with a winning record. They probably will squeak by with 82 wins, but is by no means a sure thing.

    • Jason Franklin

      I think the Reds making the playoffs are pretty much out the window. Not an impossibility, but nothing to get stressed over. I think their goal should definetly be squeaking by with 82 wins. That would be awesome man. We need to really think how NOBODY had any hope for this team (me included, I will admit) and how good they are looking for a happier future. Just got to hope the bozos, I mean, leaders in the front office spend some cash, make some strong/harsh decisions, and get this team set-up for the long term.

      • VaRedsFan

        Once they were 10 games above .500 in June, expectations change.
        So to me, 82 wins would not be awesome.

      • Rick

        Sports are a fluid business and expectations are reset with on field results, good or bad. Ours were reset with the youthful talent infusion near midseason and that changed our results and raised our expectations by the increased positive results.
        Agree with VRF.

      • Greenfield Red

        Those Bozos in the front Office and that DB Bozo in the dug out will finish at least 10 games better than anyone on this site… or any other site predicted. I hope they are just as bad next year.

    • Votto4life

      Also, with no home games remaining, the Reds can dismiss with the pretense that they still have a shot at the postseason.

      • Mark A Verticchio

        I don’t think they have much, if any, chance however they actually play much better on the road. Had they had a winning record 4 and 2 instead of 2 and 4 during this past home stand they would actually have a decent chance.

      • CI3J

        If the Reds were to win their final 4 games, they would finish with 85 wins.

        The Snakes have 83 wins and 5 to play.

        Cubs and Fish both at 82, with the Cubs having 5 more games and the Fish having 6 more games.

        There’s still a very slim chance, but the teams ahead of the Reds all have more games left to play than the Reds do, which means more potential wins.

        Of all the teams still in the race, the Reds are definitely in the weakest position.

  11. SultanofSwaff

    Just looking at league wide stats—

    If McClain was a qualified hitter he’d be the 2nd best SS in baseball.

    Friedl is the 12th best outfielder in all of baseball, 5th best CF.

    Steer and CES would be near top 10 at 1b/DH.

    Solid core positionally.

    India 10th best 2b.

  12. Rick

    I would bring Barrero and give him some PT to see if he can hit sliders and sweepers, and have better plate discipline. What’s the Reds future plan for him? His MLB plate issues were similar to Elly’s, maybe he’s improved and we need to know even if the plan is to trade.
    Also, If(only a hypothetical what if) José & Bell can’t get along then the GM and those 2 guys sit down in a room and iron it out, that’s a part of Mgmt’s role.
    Nothing left to learn on the farm anyway, and isn’t their season about done?

    • CI3J

      I don’t think 5 games is enough time to figure out anything about Barrero.

      I’m guessing the plan is to trade him this offseason. He seems to have gotten on the bad side of some people in the organization (David Bell and/or possibly others), so his time here is probably just about over.

      If they package him as part of a trade for an OF or SP, I’m ok with it.

  13. Mark Moore

    At least this gives us a definitive answer. Have a great offseason, MattyMc. Heal well. We need you at peak form come 2024.

  14. CI3J

    The team continues to stumble to the finish line, held together with duct tape and rubber cement.

    As good as the Reds have been this year, they also had some bad luck with injuries. The team feels like it’s been in constant upheaval for the past 2 months with the Louisville shuttle working overtime.

    Once they finally, mercifully, make it to the offseason, Krall needs to get to work on filling the holes and making the final tweaks to assemble a team that’s ready to compete next year.

    2 or 3 bullpen arms (Chapman, please), an outfielder, and another SP should do the trick. No more journeymen for any of these positions. The team needs good, legitimate MLB starters.

    Now if we could just get Bell to settle on a stable, logical batting order…