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  • Writer's pictureNick Fryman

Cincinnati Reds Aquisition of Santiago Espinal Could Be Sign of Bad News

Matt McLain's shoulder might be worse than we hoped

The Reds have acquired IF Santiago Espinal from the Blue Jays. Cincinnati sent Chris McElvain to Toronto, a 2022 late round RHP pick out of Vanderbilt.

Perhaps more telling is that the Reds have taken on Espinal’s full owed salary of $2.7M, which indicates he will be on the Major League roster, as we know the Reds do not pay unless they have to!

Josh Harrison and Tony Kemp were in camp as infielders, but were both part of a recent round of cuts. Additionally, with Matt McLain's status in question and Jose Barrero no longer in the organization, the Reds will need a backup shortstop behind Elly De La Cruz, which neither Harrison nor Kemp provided. Erik Gonzalez remains in camp as a SS option, but this trade likely diminishes any chance he had to make the team.

In a very unfortunate realization, this news likely means that Matt McLain’s shoulder injury is going to keep him off the field for a while. David Bell even left the door open for a surgical solution, which would obviously result in significant time missed.

Espinal is a career .273 hitter and was an All-Star in 2022. He has primarily played second base in his career, with appearances at third base and shortstop. Espinal projects as a higher-end bench bat as opposed to every day contributor, but has shown promise behind missed time from injury and depth chart rankings in Toronto, having been playing behind Bo Bichette and Whit Merrifield. He has 4 hits in 6 playoff at-bats across 2022 and 2023.



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