Kyle Farmer: Losing starting shortstop job and move to third base 'caught me off guard'

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MILWAUKEE – Kyle Farmer waited years for someone to give him an opportunity to play shortstop in the Major Leagues, a position he grew up playing, so it’s not a surprise he wasn’t thrilled with moving to third base for the remainder of the season.

The Cincinnati Reds promoted Jose Barrero on Wednesday to give the 24-year-old a chance to prove himself as the everyday shortstop for future seasons. Farmer, as a result, will shift to third base.

“It caught me off guard,” Farmer said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. But it happened, so I can’t really complain about it.”

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) reacts to a called swing by the first base umpire in the third inning of the MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) reacts to a called swing by the first base umpire in the third inning of the MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Monday, July 25, 2022.

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Farmer became the Reds’ starting shortstop last May and he probably surpassed expectations at the position. When the Reds acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was viewed as a utility guy with extra value as a third catcher.

At shortstop, he was a reliable fielder and quickly became a clubhouse leader. He’s better against left-handed pitching, but he hit .263 with a .320 on-base percentage in 209 games as the starting shortstop. He stepped up when the Reds didn’t have a true shortstop on their Major League roster, following a failed experiment with Eugenio Suárez at the position.

So, how difficult is it to move out of shortstop?

“It sucks,” Farmer said. “I love short. I’ve loved short my entire life. It’s part of the game, I guess, and they see me at third. Hopefully I play well enough to maybe play third here next year.”

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) throws to first for an out during the second inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, July 31, 2022, Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) throws to first for an out during the second inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, July 31, 2022, Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The reality is the Reds are in a full rebuild and they need to evaluate their young players after trading five players for 10 prospects. Barrero, who entered Friday with 27 career starts, and left fielder Aristides Aquino are the main beneficiaries for the final two months of the season.

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Farmer, who will turn 32 years old later this month, remains under team control through the 2024 season. His power numbers could factor into whether third base becomes a regular home for him, or if he’s more likely to be a utility player.

“Whatever is best for the team,” Farmer said. “I’ll play wherever they want me to play, and I guess third is where they see me playing, so that’s where I’ll play.”

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) breaks his hat during a pinch-hit at-bat during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Thursday, July 28, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) breaks his hat during a pinch-hit at-bat during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Thursday, July 28, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

There will be challenges for Farmer that come with any position change. Friday’s series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers marked his first start at third base since April 26, 2021. In 365 career games with the Reds, he’s made 15 starts at third.

When Farmer walked onto the field at American Family Field before batting practice Friday, he stood at third base and chatted with infield coach Delino DeShields.

“It’s going to be very hard,” Farmer said. “I’m up to the challenge but I haven’t played there in two years, pretty much. We’ll see how tonight goes.”

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Art Warren (77) collects himself between pitches in the eighth inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday, June 23, 2022. The Reds were swept in a second consecutive series with a 10-5 loss to the Dodgers.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Art Warren (77) collects himself between pitches in the eighth inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday, June 23, 2022. The Reds were swept in a second consecutive series with a 10-5 loss to the Dodgers.

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Reds reliever Jeff Hoffman, who is eligible to return from the 15-day injured list on Monday, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday in Milwaukee. The Reds are hopeful he will be activated at some point next week.

Right-hander Art Warren remains in Cincinnati to rehab from a right flexor pronator strain, but he’s expected to begin a rehab assignment “in the next few days,” Reds Manager David Bell said.

Reds new prospects: Noelvi Marte, others off to hot starts with new teams

The Reds acquired 10 prospects at the trade deadline and several of them made a nice impression in their first few days in the organization.

• SS Noelvi Marte (High-A Dayton): He homered twice in his second game with the Dayton Dragons, driving in four runs.

Mar 19, 2022; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Levi Stoudt (72) on the mound against the Los Angeles Dodges during spring training at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2022; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Levi Stoudt (72) on the mound against the Los Angeles Dodges during spring training at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

• RHP Levi Stoudt (Double-A Chattanooga): He pitched five shutout innings in his first start in the organization, permitting two hits and zero walks while striking out six.

• RHP José Acuña (Single-A Daytona): Facing his former team, he struck out six in five innings. He gave up four hits, one unearned run and zero walks.

• SS Edwin Arroyo (Daytona): After playing two games in the rookie-level complex league, Arroyo reported to Daytona and went 1-for-3 with a double, two walks, two RBI and two runs. He added a stolen base.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Kyle Farmer blindsided he's no longer Reds starting shortstop