The Cincinnati Reds really should shed some dead weight. Reserve outfielder Roger Bernadina should get his release as soon as left-handed slugger Donald Lutz shows he’s healthy enough to promote. Enough is enough with Bernadina and his .125 average in 2014. If Lutz hadn’t been forced out of action at Double A Pensacola from May 3 until today, Lutz would’ve already made his encore to the big-league roster.
Lutz went 0-5 in his return to action today, which lowered his batting average on the season to .363. The sooner Lutz is promoted to the Reds, the sooner he can provide some power to help offset the loss of slugger Jay Bruce. Lutz primarily plays left field but should be able to handle right in spot starts, plus his power from the left side off the bench is unmatched by any Reds’ hitter currently on the roster.
Besides releasing Bernadina, the Reds would serve themselves well by finally promoting right-handed hitting utility player Chris Nelson, who opted to remain with the Reds’ organization for now after passing on the initial opt-out on his minor-league deal.
Nelson is a solid contact hitter, who is much preferable off the bench as a right-handed bat than current corner infielder backup Neftali Soto. The Reds opted to keep Soto out of spring training, but now must realize the mistake. Soto is hitting .125 and has provided virtually nothing.
Nelson is primarily a backup third and second base but also has played enough left field, first base and shortstop in professional ball to have more versatility than Soto, in addition to being a career .268 hitter with doubles power.
Nelson graduated from the same high school (Redan HS) as Brandon Phillips. His presence off the bench would give the Reds a boost, plus a better bat at second base when the Reds want to rest Phillips.