Stuart Fairchild is a former 2nd round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds, and after whirlwind tours through the Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners, and San Francisco Giants organizations, he made his way back to the Reds during the 2022 season. When he returned, things went quite swimmingly, as he posted an .897 OPS in 38 games at the big league level - including an even more impressive finish of .324/.410/.588 over his final 78 PA with Cincinnati.
That flurry of a finish paired with the injury to fellow right-hander Nick Senzel made it look initially as if Fairchild would have an inside track to a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster this season, as TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, and Will Benson all hit left-handed. However, with it more apparent that Joey Votto will be ready for Opening Day - thereby pushing Wil Myers back into the OF fold - Fairchild lost his spot on Monday, as he was optioned to AAA Louisville by the Reds in their latest wave of cuts.
Joining Fairchild in the optioning was IF/OF Alejo Lopez in a pair of moves that make it seem ever more likely that veteran Chad Pinder, himself an IF/OF utility man, will make the club. The Reds announced the moves on Twitter, noting that RHP Silvino Bracho was similarly optioned while LHP Daniel Norris was released.
At least the Reds were kind enough to wait past Fairchild’s 27th birthday, which was Friday. It’s got to be a bit of a gut-punch to him today, though, as that torrid finish to the 2022 regular season has been backed up by a solid .845 OPS from him in Cactus League play this spring. Pair all of that with a career .890 OPS at the AAA level, and he’s got to be wondering what it’ll take for him to get a shot at regular playing time at the big league level.
As mentioned in the tweet, the Reds still have 40 players in big league camp, so there will be several more culls before this thing gets rolling for real.