The Reds announced they’ve activated shortstop José Barrero from the 10-day injured list. He’s been optioned to Triple-A Louisville, so no additional move is necessary.
Barrero has been on a rehab assignment with Louisville since May 20, and he’ll remain with the Bats for the time being. Position players are allowed up to 20 days on rehab stints before the team must either reinstate them from the IL or recall them from the stint and shut them down for at least another five days (if the player has suffered a setback or a new injury). Barrero’s rehab window was set to wrap up on Wednesday.
The team evidently determined Barrero needs more reps against minor league arms, though, so they’ll keep him on optional assignment. The 24-year-old hasn’t played in a major league game this season after suffering a left hamate injury in Spring Training. While he’s obviously now healthy enough to play, he’s shown some signs of rust with Louisville. Barrero has punched out in 24 of his 57 plate appearances (42.1% rate) on the rehab stint, although he’s also collected a trio of home runs and doubles apiece.
Barrero will spend some more time with the Bats, but he figures to make his return to Cincinnati at some point in the not too distant future. The native of Cuba has been one of the organization’s most promising young players for the past few years, and he entered the 2022 campaign as Baseball America’s #33 overall prospect. He looked a strong candidate to open the season as the Reds shortstop before his Spring Training injury.
Between 2020-21, Barrero tallied 124 plate appearances over 45 MLB games. He’s stumbled to a .197/.242/.248 line, striking out 34.7% of the time against a tiny 3.2% walk rate. He combined for a huge .303/.380/.539 mark between Double-A Chattanooga and Louisville last season, though, and he’s regarded by prospect evaluators as a potential above-average defender at shortstop. It stands to reason the Reds will want to get an extended look for Barrero against big league arms after he gets his timing down in Triple-A, particularly since the club has floundered to an 18-35 start and is a virtual lock to miss the postseason.
Kyle Farmer has been the Reds’ primary shortstop this season, just as he was last year. The former catcher has held his own, entering play Monday with a .258/.314/.421 slash that checks in right around league average by measure of wRC+. It’s the second straight solid season for Farmer, who has surprisingly developed into a regular in his early-30’s.
Farmer will continue holding down the shortstop job while Barrero is in the minors, but it stands to reason other teams will inquire about his availability leading up to the August 2 trade deadline. Cincinnati is likely to listen on veterans this summer given their first-half struggles, and Farmer could be an affordable target for shortstop-needy teams. He’s playing this season on a $3.155MM salary, and while the former eighth-round pick is controllable through 2024, Barrero’s presence and Farmer’s age (32 in August) could push the Reds to deal him in the next couple months.
The Reds are soon to get some help on the other side of the second bag, as the club informed reporters that Jonathan India will start a rehab assignment in Louisville this week (via Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer). India has been out of action for a bit more than a month dealing with right hamstring trouble, and the reigning NL Rookie of the Year says he’s targeting June 17 for a return to the big league club. India has only appeared in 11 games this year on account of a pair of IL stints.