TJ Friedl has been a revelation for the Cincinnati Reds so far in 2023, providing both pop and defense to an outfield mix that needs it in the worst way. Even with Friedl’s production and the recent burst from Jake Fraley, that group’s collective 89 wRC+ bests that of only three other teams, with TJ’s 117 mark through 138 PA a welcome, welcome bonus.
Unfortunately for the Reds, though, it appears he’s set to miss a little bit more time with his injured oblique, as it hasn’t progressed enough to avoid a trip to the 10-day injured list. That was made official by the Reds on Monday morning as part of a larger series of eye-catching news, as former 1st round pick Matt McLain has officially been called-up to take Friedl’s spot on the active roster.
Making room for McLain’s addition to the 40-man roster comes in the former of Joey Votto heading to the 60-day IL, however. The Reds announced all of said moves on Twitter.
Given that we’re nearing the two-month mark of the season and Votto still seems nowhere close to being ready, however, today’s announcement doesn’t necessarily change the timeline we’ve been expecting with him. It’s a sad acknowledgement, but it’s the reality we’re all facing.
The hope is that Friedl’s stint on the injured list will be a short one, and that he’ll rejoin the club at some point next week. As for McLain, well, it now remains to be seen just how the rotation with the position-flexible Reds will go, as McLain’s a shortstop by trade on a club that’s still choosing to carry both Jose Barrero and Kevin Newman, too. Presumably we’ll see Barrero in the OF mix with Friedl sidelined, though we’ve only seen him sparsely at all since the calendar flipped to May (and not a single of his May appearances has been as an outfielder).
The final bit of news here is that Brandon Williamson has been added to the team’s taxi squad, a tidbit that suggests he’ll be joining the team’s depleted rotation at some point quite soon. Nick Lodolo just hit the IL, Levi Stoudt got optioned back to AAA, and Luis Cessa was outrighted off the roster completely after a DFA, and since Williamson’s already the owner of a spot on the 40-man roster, it would appear he’s the next man up despite his ample struggles in AAA this year (6.62 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 1.35 K/BB in 34.0 IP).