It’s been a busy day in terms of Cincinnati Reds news, and somehow Joey Votto signing with the Toronto Blue Jays was only the biggest Reds-related news for about two hours today. Earlier this afternoon the club’s top prospect, Noelvi Marte, was suspended for 80 games after he tested positive for Boldenone – a performance enhancing drug.

After a hamstring injury suffered back in November while playing in the Dominican Winter League, Noelvi Marte’s recovery took long enough that he didn’t begin spring training on time. Now he’s going to also get a late start to the regular season, but this one is going to be a lot later than a week-and-a-half. The 80-game suspension will begin when the regular season starts for Cincinnati and the earliest date in which he can return to the big leagues is June 26th.

Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Marte can begin what’s considered to be a rehab assignment in the minor leagues as early as June 6th. With rehab limits being 20 days for position players, that lines up. While Marte is ineligible to play in games, he is able to participate at the Reds spring training complex and participate in workouts there once the Major League Baseball season begins.

This is certainly a blow to the Reds, who were likely going to have Noelvi Marte as their starting third baseman a majority of time (he was likely going to get a few starts here or there at shortstop and as the team’s designated hitter). Now they’ll be without him for at least half of the season. Fortunately they have depth that will help them deal with that. Between holding onto Jonathan India after what felt like at least a luke-warm trade market for him, and signing Jeimer Candelario in the winter to go along with Christian Encarnacion-Strand – Cincinnati has multiple viable options to fill in at third base.

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25 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Well Barrero and Farichild are probably breathing a little easier right now. :)

    • MBS

      Odds have improved for them, but Harrison, and Kemp are probably being strongly considered.

      • Melvin

        My gut tells me they aren’t going to give up on Barrero or Fairchild unless they absolutely have to but who knows?

      • MBS

        Maybe, but none RLN people don’t hold them in such esteem. I think our perspective gets warped here. At the end of the day they are the last people on a roster. If there are other last people who fit a need better, then that’s fine. If not, that’s fine to.

      • RedBB

        Neither of those guys should make the team over Barrero.

    • BK

      It’s hard to see a scenario where Fairchild doesn’t make the team–his two-year track record is the best, and he’s looked the best in ST. If he hasn’t separated himself from the others, it will be due to team insights that aren’t publicly available.

      I would also think Barrero has the inside track over Kemp and Harrison, given his age, potential, and versatility. With Marte out, having a player who can handle SS became much more important.

      • Melvin

        “I would also think Barrero has the inside track over Kemp and Harrison, given his age, potential, and versatility. With Marte out, having a player who can handle SS became much more important.”

        Well that WOULD have made sense. ;)

      • BK

        Lots said over this today … the Reds gave Barrero a chance to catch on elsewhere. It would have been understandable for them to have kept it. It is also understandable that they elected to move on.

        FWIW, I suspect the Barrero transaction was placed before they knew about Marte. IMO, Marte created this chaos. PEDs are really dangerous–the league and MLBPA agree on this–think about how obvious the danger must be for them to agree. Players need to make better decisions–the penalty is appropriate and sufficient, but the buffoonery was not on the team in this case.

    • RedBB

      Fairchild pool already had a spot. But ye I see Barrero as the beneficiary as he is a RHB and I don’t think the Reds want to bat Benson and/or Fraley vs LHP

  2. RedFuture

    One has to wonder whether the Reds had any inkling of this before signing Candelario.

    • Doug Gray

      Can’t imagine any scenario where they would have. And even if they did it wouldn’t have led to them signing Candelario for that purpose.

  3. Doc

    I guess this puts the kabosh on Marte earning the Reds an additional draft pick, at least for his 2024 performance! If the season is going really well without Marte, perhaps about 80 games in Louisville will be needed to have him ready for 2025, and another run at rookie of the year.

    BTW, I don’t condemn Marte unless/until I know what actually happened. Perhaps he did knowingly take a banned substance. But perhaps this was something an unscrupulous ‘trainer’ was giving him to help his hamstring cure and Marte was too naive to know to investigate with the MLB staff before taking it. I hope he comes back better than Guitierez has.

  4. James K

    Some over the counter “energy” supplements contain banned substances that aren’t even listed on the label. It is possible to take banned substances unknowingly. It has happened before.

    • Doc

      The very reason I don’t condemn without knowing the facts. In this day of fentanyl laced gummi bears, taking anything comes with unknown risks.

      • Doug Gray

        I mean you aren’t buying those kinds of gummy bears at the store, man.

    • BK

      One can only take medicine and supplements from a known source. Perhaps, a little harder to do in the DR, but that is the expectation.

  5. RedBB

    Quite frankly I think we are lucky it’s not a year or 2 year sentence like other sports. Honestly I would like to see MLB make it 2 years….only way you are truly going to discourage it. 2nd strike and you are banned for life.

    • Doug Gray

      What sport in America has a 1st time PED test lead to a year or two suspension?

      • RedBB

        Tennis is 2 years to 4 years as do all Olympic Sports. NBA can and has also imposed 2 year bans aka OJ Mayo.

      • Doug Gray

        Tennis and the Olympics are worldwide sports. Mayo served a 10-game suspension for his first drug violation. It was the next one that got him the 2-year ban.

  6. RedBB

    On Blog site I noticed this, “Another prominent example is Emmanuel Clase who got his own 80-game suspension for using boldenone in 2020. Other suspensions for using this particular steroid include Abraham Almonte, David Paulino, Jorge Bonifacio, and Francis Martes ”

    Decided to look them up and yup all Dominican. There definitely is a common source there…

    • Optimist

      Sounds like MLB or MLBPA needs to augment its presence in the DR. 1/2 season seems the appropriate stick, but are there carrots for compliance? Group clinics? Uniform treatment?

      1 or 2 is coincidental bad faith. 6 is a pattern to address.

      • RedBB

        At the very lest they need to talk to these players to find out who is the source to shut them down from preying on young players. Doubt they are doing this though knowing the MLB leadership which is a joke and has been since Bud Selig. ie They don’t care…

  7. Greenfield Red

    Because of this, assuming NM is not removed from prospect lists, with Reds added 2nd pick in June, and the progression we expect from Lowder, Arroyo, Phillips, Petty, Collier, Stewart, and others, the Reds should shoot up even higher in the team ratings than we thought they would.