Roster considerations difficult
Injuries, injuries and more injuries. They have certainly stacked up on the Reds this spring. Several players going down, especially on the pitching staff, has been frustrating for the team. It has also thrown a lot of uncertainty over who might go north on the 25-man roster.
“People are realizing that there’s a chance we could have some guys start the season on the DL and there are openings on this club,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Some guys jump through that window of opportunity and others kind of fight against it, knowing there is opportunity. It’s going to be a real interesting last week, I can tell you that.”
Let’s take a look at the situation with less than a week before camp breaks.
Catchers (2): Devin Mesoraco, Brayan Pena
Infield: (4) Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart
Outfield: (5) Jay Bruce, Billy Hamilton, Ryan Ludwick, Chris Heisey, Skip Schumaker
Starting pitchers (5): Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani, Alfredo Simon
Bullpen (4): Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra, Logan Ondrusek
Disabled list (most likely): Mat Latos, Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, Jack Hannahan
On the bubble:
In the bullpen, Nick Christiani has pitched well and seems likely to earn a spot. Pedro Beato has pitched well also. Both are on the 40-man roster. If Jumbo Diaz and/or Trevor Bell make the team, openings on the 40-man roster would have to be created. Brett Marshall, who has been starting this spring, could be a fit as a long reliever if needed. He is also on the 40-man roster already.
For the backup infield spots, it’s down to Chris Nelson, Ramon Santiago, Neftali Soto and Kristopher Negron. Only Soto is on the 40-man roster. For any of the other three make the team, room must be made.
In the outfield, Roger Bernadina has had a strong showing but the club already has five outfielders and Bernadina is also a non-roster guy that would have to be added to the 40-man. He has a March 28 out-clause in his contract, if he won’t be on the 25-man roster.
I expect the team will go north with 13 position players and 12 pitchers.
Finding room on the 40-man roster for any new additions is going to be really, really difficult. It is highly unlikely that pitchers Carlos Contreras, Daniel Corcino, Ismael Guillon, David Holmberg or Chad Rogers would be designated for assignment. All are prospects to the club and for example, Rogers just pitched well in the Arizona Fall League — which makes it even more unlikely.
Among position players the club likely wouldn’t part with are Tucker Barnhart, Juan Duran, Donald Lutz or Yorman Rodriguez.
The two names on the 40-man I haven’t mentioned yet are RHP Curtis Partch and OF Ryan LaMarre. I’m not sure what would happen with them. Both were sent down in earlier cuts.
Putting someone on the 60-day DL would clear 40-man roster space but there are no clear-cut candidates that would need two months before being healthy.
Then there are uncertainties — Bailey and Cueto are still dealing with injuries. Schumaker hurt his left shoulder in today’s 9-3 win over the Royals. Mesoraco has an oblique strain. If non-roster catcher Corky Miller made the team as a result, that’s yet another 40-man roster spot that would need to open.