The Reds’ next cut is coming on Wednesday. The Reds currently have 32 healthy players in camp.
So seven players face the ax. Wednesday’s cut may not be the final one. The Reds don’t have to set the roster until Saturday, following the final exhibition game in Louisville.
As far as position players are concerned, the Reds really only have one decision. They have to decide whether to keep a third catcher or Jacob Cruz as the 25th man.
General manager Dan O’Brien wouldn’t go that far, saying infielder Luis Lopez and outfielder Jason Romano are still in the running.
A couple of interesting things here. First of all, why keep a third catcher? I’d keep Jason LaRue and Bobby Estallela as my catchers; Estallela has earned it, and frankly, he has an argument to be the starter (not based on spring numbers, but on talent and ability).
If you’re going to keep a third catcher, Javier Valentin isn’t completely useless, since he can play first base, too. But if the Reds need a backup 1B, Adam Dunn can serve that role (which allows Wily Mo Pena an entry to the lineup). My sense, however, is that the Reds are going to keep Valentin as the backup catcher and Estallela will be the odd man out. Just the sense I’m getting….
I don’t have much of a problem keeping Jacob Cruz on the roster. He had a pretty decent season as a pinch hitter last year, and he’s not completely useless as a 25th man. Either way, it doesn’t matter that much, as there won’t be very many ABs wasted on that roster spot.
What in the world could justify the fact that Jason Romano and Luis Lopez are “still in the running?” Romano is completely worthless — Reggie Taylor without the talent. Luis Lopez is roster filler at best, and the Reds don’t have any need for him with Ryan Freel and Felipe Lopez on the roster as backups (yep, I said it; Felipe is a Dave Miley substitute. Absurd).
Here’s more from the article:
Basically, five pitchers are competing for the last of the seven bullpen jobs.
Danny Graves, Ben Weber, David Weathers, Kent Mercker and Ryan Wagner are in. Graves, Weber, Weathers and Mercker are veterans. As long as they were healthy, they were coming north. Wagner earned a spot by going 1-0 with a 1.63 ERA this spring.
Whoever loses out on the fifth starter spot – Josh Hancock or Brandon Claussen – will likely take the sixth bullpen spot. Both are out of options, so the Reds can’t send them to the minors without risking losing them on waivers.
Again, O’Brien wouldn’t commit beyond the four veterans.
“(Wagner) has pitched well,” he said. “But no final decisions have been made regarding any of those individuals.”
Of course, O’Brien and Miley want the veterans. That was certainly never in question. The Dan O’Brien Philosophy: When In Doubt, Screw the Kids.
Not that that is necessarily a bad thing with this bullpen. As for the final spot in the rotation, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be Brandon Claussen. After all, what has Josh Hancock done to earn a spot? Nothing, in my opinion, besides the fact that Claussen has spent some time as a touted prospect.
For the final spot in the bullpen, it appears that Jose Acevedo, Todd Coffey, Joe Valentine, Jeriome Robertson and Matt Belisle are in the running.
Forget Robertson. He has no business on this roster, but he’s lefthanded, so he’s just the type of pitcher the Reds will want to keep around. The other four pitchers are all intriguing, for various reasons.
If it’s my call, I keep Coffey around. I like the fact that he throws hard, and I like his K/BB ratio. Plus, he just seems like a good guy.
I’ve been a big Acevedo fan for years, and I’d love to see him stick. I still think he can be a good starter, but he’s had some success out of the pen, and I fear he’s about to get typecast, for lack of a better term. I think he’s going to get squeezed out of the Opening Day roster, but again, if I were making the call, I’d keep him over David Weathers or Josh Hancock.
Joe Valentine throws hard, but needs more work on his control. Enjoy Louisville, Joe. And as for Matt Belisle, I’d probably send him out to start the season, but I’d monitor his progress very closely. He’s an intriguing pitcher, and he’s not very far removed from top prospect status with the Braves.
Lots of fun here, and lots of different options for the Reds. We’ll be watching on Wednesday to see who gets the heave-ho.
I hope Jason Romano is first, for the sake of the club.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.