Six spots left?

I’m sitting at CVG waiting for my connecting flight to Chicago, and then it’s on to Phoenix. Count me as being stunned no cuts were made in the four days I was away.

There are still 40 players on the roster with six days left until camp ends.

Here are the definite locks

Starting pitchers: Harang, Cueto, Arroyo, Bailey

Relievers: Burton, Cordero, Herrera, Masset, Rhodes

Catchers: Hernandez, Hanigan

Infielders: Votto, Phillips, Cabrera, Rolen

Outfielders: Bruce, Stubbs, Gomes, Dickerson

That’s 19 spots locked, six to go.

What’s left?

The fifth spot seems to be down to Wood, Leake, Chapman and maybe Lehr. With Leake having no minor league experience at all, I’d be surprised if he got the nod. But he’s made it this far. It looks like Chapman had a pain-free one inning in a minor league game today but will he have enough time to get stretched out? And are decision-makers sure he doesn’t need some acclimation time in Triple-A? Wood seems to have the inside track.

The remaining bullpen spots are between Lincoln, Owings, Maloney, Fisher and Ondrusek. Wells and Lehr could also be in the mix. There could be one or two spots left depending on whether they take 11 or 12 pitchers north.

The fifth outfield spot is down to Balentien and Nix. Balentien is out of options. Nix has the track record of last season but is a non-roster player.

And the backup infielder spots are down to Janish, Miles, Burke, Sutton, Cairo, Castillo and Francisco. Miles is owed $2.7 million this season. I still can’t believe the Reds would use a young guy like Francisco as a bench guy/pinch-hitter. He needs to play a lot. If Cairo made it, he would be the most likely backup first baseman of the group should Joey Votto have ever to come out of a game. Castillo is also interesting since he could also be a third catcher. One other potential issue is that only Janish, Sutton and Miles are on the 40-man roster. The other guys would have to be added in a second transaction.

It should be a very interesting final week of camp. Any suggestions for how to fill out the final roster for April 5?

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On the two infield reserve spots. Two things for sure. One of the spots should go to Paul Janish. He probably should be the starting shortstop. He might now be a better hitter than Orlando Cabrera. He’s certainly hit better than OC in the spring.

Second, neither spot should go to Aaron Miles. He’s been the worst of all the relevant players this spring. He has as many errors as hits. He can really only play 2B. His contract is the only reason he’s being considered. That’s mismanagement by the Reds. They should have DFA’d him the day of the Taveras trade, just like Oakland did with WT. Instead we are wasting all this playing time on a clearly inferior player.

I like Sutton for the last spot – he’s very versatile, including being able to play the OF. But if Baker/Jocketty pick Cairo I wouldn’t complain too much. Sutton has more upside and Cairo has more experience.

Do you see Micah Owings getting one of those bullpen spots?Russell Wight

Is this correct?: If Cairo isn’t the backup 1st baseman, that makes Hernandez the backup and the Reds would need to carry a 3rd catcher? This really two questions – if hernandez is the backup at 1st would the Reds need to carry a 3rd cathcer? And, is there anyone else besides Cairo who could backup Votto at 1st?

I know that as Reds fans we have to be eternal optimists, but is anyone else very excited by the fact that IF (and its a huge IF) Volquez comes back at full strength we will have Bailey as our FIFTH STARTER!?!?!? Thats Homer Bailey, regularly talked about in professional circles as being poised to have a breakout season! I know its biased but that would have to be one of the best one through fives in the league. Exciting, now if we could just hit……

The pitching depth is outstanding. If Bailey is the 5th starter, is Chapman the 6th?! But the bats!!! It’s just spring – that’s what I keep telling myself. But I worry about the Reds’ hitting / power / run scoring. Will it be like last year, when if the pitching gave up 4 runs, the games was lost?

I hope Ondrusek (1) makes this team. He’s the Daniel Ray Herrera of 2010. Owings (2) for all he can do. Leake/Wood/Chapman – the toughest choice of all – I like Leake (3). I love Francisco, but he probably does need to play every day. We’ll see him before the season is over. Balentein (4). Janish (5) will get in his licks somewhere, somehow. Castillo (6) can fill several voids, including releasing Hernandez as a backup for Votto, but is a tough choice over Sutton. We’ll see him before the season is over as well. It’s a good thing Louisville is just down the road. Although I am eternally optimistic every March, I am REALLY looking forward to what the Reds will do in 2010.

Can’t Gomes play first?

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