Reds' plan for roster mix? 'They're all going to play'

August 4th, 2022

MIAMI -- All of the trades the Reds could make were made, and none of the 10 prospects they acquired are big leaguers yet. But the club still has two months of season left and players are needed to fill the void after Tuesday's Trade Deadline.

"The guys that are here at this point are going to play. No one is going to have a limited role. They’re all going to play," Reds manager David Bell said.

Amid the wheeling and dealing, the Reds have played well but their four-game winning streak was halted during Wednesday's 3-0 loss at loanDepot park to the Marlins as their ace, Sandy Alcantara, threw a six-hit shutout.

Here is how some Reds players will figure down the stretch in 2022:

Jose Barrero
Recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday, Barrero is expected to see the bulk of the playing time at shortstop. One of the organization's top prospects when he was first promoted to the big leagues from Double-A in 2020, the now 24-year-old has yet to show he can hit consistently. 

“Every good player gets to a point where, I believe, there’s no real development left except at the Major League level," Bell said. "The Major League level brings out the best in a lot of young players, especially the good ones. Obviously there’s no guarantees with any of this. Now is the time to allow Jose to complete that development here.”

Barrero, who batted .197 in 45 games for the Reds over the 2020 and '21 seasons, opened this year on the injured list with a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. The struggles continued at Louisville, where he was batting .209 with a .639 OPS, nine home runs and 89 strikeouts in 237 plate appearances (37.6 percent).

"You get to learn everything, from mentally to what’s going on on the field, off the field, everything," Barrero said via interpreter Jorge Merlos. "After surgery, I’ve been able to battle and get myself prepared for today."

Once the organization's top shortstop prospect, Barrero now trails a new wave of developing ones like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain and the just acquired Noelvi Marte. A position change isn't out of the question for Barrero, but expect the long look at shortstop the rest of this year.

"He was here, and I think it was a good experience. At the same time, it wasn’t a big enough sample of his play," Bell said.

Aristides Aquino
Activated from the injured list on Tuesday after missing 42 games with a left high ankle sprain, Aquino is getting another extended chance in right field. He has yet to recreate his success from August 2019, when he hit 14 home runs in one month and broke several rookie records. This season on April 30, he was designated for assignment and cleared waivers to go outright to Louisville after batting .049 (2-for-41) with one homer and 23 strikeouts in 15 games. 

Aquino was producing better in his second stint until his injury. In his first game back in Tuesday's 2-1 win, he hit a two-run single in the first inning and saved a run with a throw to the plate for his sixth assist of the season. 

"Not that I’m committing him to playing every single day, but I’d like to see him play," Bell said. "Get into a rhythm where he’s playing more than he has in the past. Just let the ability take over."

Kyle Farmer
Barrero's arrival means that Farmer, the Reds' regular shortstop for the past year and a half, is moving to third base. Farmer, who was banged up from being hit by two pitches on Tuesday, got the night off Wednesday but is expected to get most of the starts at third base.

“He’s played an outstanding shortstop. I know he loved the position. I personally think he has a chance to be an even better third baseman," Bell said.

Justin Dunn
Optioned to Louisville on July 24 after completing a rehab assignment as he comes back from a 2021 shoulder injury, Dunn can't return for a minimum of 15 days. Acquired in the trade that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez to Seattle in March, the Reds will want to see him start games in the big leagues.

Mike Minor
Minor allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings Wednesday to the Marlins -- giving up a fourth-inning homer to Jesús Aguilar and a two-run double to Garrett Cooper in the fifth inning to mar what had been a nice outing.

"It was the best I felt in a while," Minor said. "I thought the changeup, curveball was good and the slider was bad, and that's what got hit tonight. Two bad sliders."

The Reds are 1-10 in games Minor starts, and his 6.19 ERA is an eyesore. But with Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle traded, Cincinnati's rotation lacks veterans.

"He’s going to keep starting, and he’s different from the rest of our guys for a lot of reasons, mainly his experience," Bell said. "Keep bringing that to our staff, just some stability, innings, he has the ability to go out."