DENVER – For one month in August 2019, outfielder Aristides Aquino was the most prolific home run hitter in the Major Leagues for the Reds. Aquino has never approached anything close to that since, and his time with Cincinnati finally ran out when he was designated for assignment on Saturday.
Aquino’s roster spot was taken by pitcher Connor Overton, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Louisville to start vs. the Rockies.
“Tough day, really, for our whole clubhouse,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We still believe in him as a player. He’s going to get another opportunity, I believe, in the Major Leagues somewhere. It could turn out that he would end up back here in our organization, and we would welcome him back for sure. He did everything he could, played hard, [a] great teammate and he will definitely be missed.”
Aquino, 28, was batting .049 with one homer in 15 games this season while going 2-for-41 with 23 strikeouts. He was hitless in his last 25 at-bats.
Due to his significant struggles, there is a chance that Aquino could clear waivers and be outrighted to Louisville. Also helping is that teams must trim rosters from 28 to 26 players after Sunday’s games, which could make it difficult to add a player like Aquino who is out of Minor League options.
Signed as a 16-year-old by the Reds out of the Dominican Republic, Aquino made his big league debut for one game in 2018 before returning in August 2019. He slugged 14 homers that month and 19 overall in 56 games while establishing a modern Major League record for reaching 15 homers in the fewest plate appearances (122).
In 122 games from 2020-22, Aquino batted .164 with a .618 OPS and 13 homers while striking out in 38% of his plate appearances. In the end, it was about a lack of results.
“It is a lot about confidence. You have a few good swings and you have a feel for something,” Bell said. “A guy with his talent, it’s not a surprise at all that he had the success he had. But it’s not a surprise that any player would fall off either. It’s just so tough to get everything to work together. It’s so competitive playing at this level. Even for Aquino, nobody worked harder than him and he’s very talented. It’s just tough. It’s a tough game. He’s still got a long way to go. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he has another month like that and he’s able to keep it going after that.”