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2022 Reds Roster Analysis and Spring Training Home Stretch Preview

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Today, I’ll wrap up the NL Central with the Reds in this article, and the Pirates to follow.

TRANSACTIONS

*The Reds started the offseason with a full 40-man roster and 3 players on the 60-day IL

10/6/21: RHP RJ Alaniz elected free agency in lieu of an outright assignment.

10/7/21: Outrighted OF Delino DeShields, Jr. to AAA Louisville. 40-man roster at 39.

10/11/21: OF Delino DeShields, Jr. elected free agency in lieu of an outright assignment.

10/12/21: IF Mike Freeman elected free agency in lieu of an outright assignment.

10/13/21: C Beau Taylor elected free agency in lieu of an outright assignment.

11/3/21: RHP Mychal Givens, RHP Michael Lorenzen and IF Asdrubal Cabrera declared Article XX-B free agents. Traded C Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers for minor league IF Nick Quintana. 40-man roster at 35.

11/4/21: Activated RHP Tejay Antone, RHP Brandon Bailey and OF Nick Senzel from the 60-day IL. Outrighted IF Alex Blandino to AAA Louisville. Announced that OF Nick Castellanos opted out of the remaining 2 years and $34 million remaining on his contract, and was declared a free agent. 40-man roster at 36.

11/5/21: Announced that LHP Justin Wilson exercised his $2.3 million player option for the 2022 season. Noted the loss of LHP Wade Miley to the Chicago Cubs on an outright assignment waiver claim. 40-man roster at 35.

11/7/21: Extended a 1-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer to OF Nick Castellanos.

11/12/21: OF Nick Castellanos rejected the club’s qualifying offer.

11/18/21: Signed RHP Connor Overton to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

11/19: Selected the contracts of RHP Daniel Duarte and RHP Hunter Greene from AAA Louisville. Selected the contract of RHP Alexis Diaz from AA Chattanooga. Selected the contracts of RHP James Marinan and OF Allan Cerda from High-A Dayton. 40-man roster full.

11/24/21: Noted the loss of LHP Cionel Perez to the Baltimore Orioles on an outright assignment waiver claim. 40-man roster at 39.

11/29/21: Signed C Aramis Garcia to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

11/30/21: Non-tendered RHP Brandon Bailey. Signed IF Cristian Santana to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. 40-man roster at 38.

12/1/21: Signed RHP Brandon Bailey, RHP Kyle Dowdy, RHP Trey Wingenter, C Andrew Knapp, 1B/OF Jake Bauers, IF/OF Allen Cordoba and OF Trey Amburgey to minor league deals and invited them to spring training.

1/6/22: Signed RHP Ben Lively to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

1/11/22: Signed IF Juniel Querecuto to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

2/22/22: Signed RHP Zack Godley to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

3/13/22: Traded RHP Sonny Gray and minor league RHP Francisco Peguero to the Minnesota Twins for minor league RHP Chase Petty. 40-man roster at 37. Invited 51 players to spring training, including all 37 40-man roster players and 14 NRIs.

3/14/22: Traded LF Jesse Winker and 3B Eugenio Suarez to the Seattle Mariners for RHP Justin Dunn, CF Jake Fraley, minor league LHP Brandon Williamson, and a Player To Be Named Later. 40-man roster still at 37, 51 players still in camp.

3/16/22: Traded LHP Amir Garrett to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Mike Minor and cash considerations. Signed IF Donovan Solano to a 1-year, $4.5 million major league contract. 40-man roster at 38. Signed RHP Buck Farmer to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. 53 players in camp (38 40-man roster players + 15 NRIs).

3/17/22: Signed 1B/3B Colin Moran to a 1-year, $1 million major league contract. 40-man roster at 39. 54 players in camp (39 40-man roster players + 15 NRIs).

3/18/22: Invited LHP Phillip Diehl, RHP Joel Kuhnel, LHP Nick Lodolo, LHP Brandon Williamson, C Chuckie Robinson, IF Matt McLain, IF Leonardo Rivas, 1B Leonardo Seminati and OF Ronnie Dawson to spring training. 63 players in camp (39 40-man roster players + 24 NRIs).

3/19/22: Invited C Chris Okey and IF Miguel Hernandez to spring training. 65 players in camp (39 40-man roster players + 26 NRIs).

3/20/22: Signed OF Albert Almora, Jr. and invited him to spring training. Re-assigned RHP Brandon Bailey and IF Juniel Querecuto to minor league camp. 64 players in camp (39 40-man roster players + 25 NRIs).

3/21/22: Signed RHP Kyle Zimmer and IF Brandon Drury to minor league deals and invited them to spring training. Invited RHP Graham Ashcraft to spring training. 67 players in camp (39 40-man roster players + 28 NRIs).

3/22/22: Agreed to a 1-year, $7.35 million contract with RHP Luis Castillo, a 1-year, $1.8 million contract with RHP Luis Cessa, a 1-year, $925,000 contract with RHP Jeff Hoffman, a 1-year, $5.2 million contract with RHP Tyler Mahle, a 1-year, $3.155 million contract with SS Kyle Farmer, a 1-year, $4.025 million contract with OF Tyler Naquin and a 1-year, $1.25 million contract with OF Nick Senzel (Super Two), avoiding arbitration with each player.

RHP Lucas Sims is the only potential arbitration case the Reds have outstanding. Sims filed for $1.6 million, while the Reds have offered $1.2 million.

3/23/22: Signed RHP Hunter Strickland to a 1-year, $1.825 million major league contract. 40-man roster full. 68 players in camp (40 40-man roster players + 28 NRIs).

3/24/22: Optioned RHP James Marinan, RHP Jared Solomon and OF Allan Cerda to AAA Louisville. Re-assigned OF Lorenzo Cedrola to minor league camp. 64 players in camp (37 40-man roster players + 27 NRIs).

3/26/22: Signed OF Tommy Pham to a 1-year, $7.5 million major league contract with a 2023 mutual option. To make room on the 40-man roster, placed RHP Tejay Antone on the 60-day IL (recovery from Tommy John surgery). 40-man roster still full. Optioned C Mark Kolozsvary and IF Alejo Lopez to AAA Louisville. Re-assigned RHP Zack Godley, RHP Joel Kuhnel, RHP Connor Overton, LHP Brandon Williamson, C Chris Okey, C Chuckie Robinson, IF Miguel Hernandez, IF Matt McLain, OF Trey Amburgey and OF Ronnie Dawson to minor league camp. 52 players in camp (35 40-man roster players + 17 NRIs).

3/27/22: Optioned RHP Riley O’Brien to AAA Louisville. Re-assigned RHP Kyle Dowdy and IF Cristian Santana to minor league camp. 49 players in camp (34 40-man roster players + 15 NRIs).

3/29/22: Re-assigned RHP Graham Ashcraft, LHP Phillip Diehl, RHP Ben Lively and RHP Kyle Zimmer to minor league camp. 45 players in camp (34 40-man roster players + 11 NRIs). Seattle Mariners sent minor league RHP Connor Phillips to complete the March 14 Jesse Winker/Eugenio Suarez trade.

3/30/22: Optioned OF TJ Friedl to AAA Louisville. Re-assigned 1B/OF Jake Bauers and OF Albert Almora, Jr. to minor league camp. 42 players in camp (33 40-man roster players + 9 NRIs).

40-MAN ROSTER (40)

PITCHERS (21)

Luis Castillo (R, 2), Luis Cessa (R), Alexis Diaz (R, 3), Daniel Duarte (R, 3), Justin Dunn (R, 3), Hunter Greene (R, 3), Vladimir Gutierrez (R, 2), Ryan Hendrix (R, 1), Jeff Hoffman (R), Tyler Mahle (R, 2), James Marinan (R, 3), Mike Minor (L, N/A), Dauri Moreta (R, 3), Riley O’Brien (R, 2), Reiver Sanmartin (L, 3), Tony Santillan (R, 1), Lucas Sims (R), Jared Solomon (R, 2), Hunter Strickland (R), Art Warren (R, 1), Justin Wilson (L, N/A)

CATCHERS (2)

Mark Kolozsvary (3), Tyler Stephenson (2)

INFIELDERS (9)

Jose Barrero (2), Kyle Farmer (1), Jonathan India (3), Alejo Lopez (2), Colin Moran (1), Mike Moustakas (N/A), Max Schrock (1), Donovan Solano (N/A), Joey Votto (N/A)

OUTFIELDERS (8)

Shogo Akiyama (N/A), Aristides Aquino, Allen Cerda (3), Jake Fraley (2), TJ Friedl (3), Tyler Naquin (N/A), Tommy Pham, Nick Senzel (3)

60-DAY IL (1)

RHP Tejay Antone (3)

NOTES

For some reason, some outlets, including the Reds’ official home page on MLB.com, have RHP Zack Godley as being on the Reds’ 40-man roster. I’m almost certain this is not true. The Reds signed him to a minor league deal on February 22nd, and he was never announced as being on the 40-man roster. If he was on the 40-man roster, the Reds would have had to make a corresponding 40-man move to add Hunter Strickland, and none was made. Furthermore, the club re-assigned him to minor league camp on March 26th, despite the fact that Godley is out of minor league options. Simply put, if Godley is on the 40-man roster, that would mean one of the other players above is not, and there has been no announcement in that regard. I’m chalking it up to a mistake, and that they put Godley on the 40-man page, when they meant to put him on the NRI page.

Ryan Hendrix will be eligible for a fourth minor league option in 2023 if his 2022 option is burned this season. Jake Fraley and Alejo Lopez will be eligible for a fourth minor league option in 2024 if their 2022 and 2023 options are both burned. Jared Solomon will be eligible for a fourth minor league option in 2024 or 2025 if both of his remaining minor league options are burned before then. Allen Cerda will be eligible for a fourth minor league option if each of his 3 option years are burned in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

HOME STRETCH AND FINAL JOBS

PITCHING

This pitching situation with the Reds is a bit complicated with all of their injuries. Luis Castillo and Mike Minor were going to be the top starters, but both will open the season on the injured list with shoulder soreness. Tejay Antone is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. Because of an off-day early in the schedule, the Reds don’t need a 5th starter until April 13th, and the club has thus decided to have Tyler Mahle start two of the club’s first five games. Reiver Sanmartin, who only has two career starts, and Vladimir Gutierrez are the #2 and #3 starters for now. In an exciting twist, the club’s top prospect Hunter Greene, just added to the 40-man roster in November, will be the #4 starter. Greene is a Tommy John survivor that still throws over 100 mph. The club has not announced a 5th starter yet, but the signs are pointing to lefty Nick Lodolo, the club’s #2 prospect and 1st round draft choice in 2019. Since Lodolo is not on the 40-man, my guess is that the Reds will wait to add him until his start is necessary.

As far as the relievers go, both Justin Dunn and Lucas Sims will be unavailable for opening day. Dunn was part of the return in the Winker/Suarez trade, and the club made the deal despite knowing that Dunn would be out for a couple of months with a shoulder problem. Sims, a strong candidate for the closer job, has back spasms, but is likely to only be gone for the minimum time.

Luis Cessa, Jeff Hoffman, Dauri Moreta, Tony Santillan, Hunter Strickland, Art Warren and Justin Wilson have clear bullpen jobs. That leaves Alexis Diaz, Daniel Duarte, Ryan Hendrix and non-roster invitee Buck Farmer to compete for what are probably three remaining bullpen jobs.

POSITION PLAYERS

The trade of Tucker Barnhart opened the full-time catching job for Tyler Stephenson. The club already optioned Mark Kolozsvary, its only other 40-man roster catcher. That has left non-roster invitees Andrew Knapp and Aramis Garcia to fight it out for the backup job. Knapp has five years of major league service, all with the Phillies, so he has the edge on experience. While he switch hits, his offensive game has been lackluster in the majors other than a decent batting eye, and he’s never received high marks for defense. Garcia has much less MLB game experience, but he has a cannon for an arm, and has the advantage of having worked with manager David Bell when Bell was with the Giants organization. He also has 5 homers in just 16 at-bats, which leads the Cactus League.

Joey Votto is the first baseman and Jonathan India is the second baseman. The trade of Eugenio Suarez handed Mike Moustakas the full time third base job. It remains to be seen if he will ever produce for Cincinnati or if he will be platooned. Jose Barrero, who was thought to be the shortstop of the future, will be out for a minimum of 6 weeks following hamate bone surgery. This leaves Kyle Farmer as the primary shortstop for the second year in a row. The club signed former Cardinal farmhand Donovan Solano for $4.5 million to back up the infield positions, but he injured his left hamstring on March 29th, and is out for opening day. Right now, Max Schrock is the only remaining 40-man roster player in camp who could even stand at short, and the club has no one who has ever played short in the majors. Because of this, there is rumblings that non-roster invitee Brandon Drury could make the club. He has five years of major league service under his belt, but only 9 career games in the majors at short, and he’s not really considered a strong defender anywhere. New signee Colin Moran is a good bet to DH, and can back up first and third.

If Nick Senzel manages to stay healthy, he’s the preferred starter in center field. After a decent offensive showing last season, Tyler Naquin, who was pressed into service in center more than the club probably wanted last season, seems to have a corner job, most likely right field. The rest of it is up in the air. Tommy Pham was just signed to a $7.5 million deal as a free agent and I can’t imagine the Reds would have made that deal if they projected Pham as a backup. Jake Fraley can run, but he has been plagued by injuries and has minor league options left. Two guys that are in serious danger of being cut are Aristides Aquino and Shogo Akiyama. Aquino is out of options, positionally limited to left and his offensive game has gone into the tank since his minor breakout in 2019. The Akiyama signing has not worked out very well between the injuries and lack of offense. He hasn’t set the world on fire on defense, either. He can’t be sent to the minors without his consent, and he’s on the last year of a deal that pays him $8 million. It remains to be seen if the Reds are willing to cut bait and eat the contract. It’s possible that all 6 of these outfielders make the opening day roster because of all the injuries the club has. Aquino could DH against lefties.

The Reds will have a flurry of moves to make before opening day, because they’re going to have to make at least six injured list moves and add a backup catcher at a minimum. At some point soon after that, they’re going to have to add Lodolo as the 5th starter. They have one 60-day IL move in their back pocket with Justin Dunn, but the club isn’t done making trims off of this 40-man roster.