John Fay has the annual spring article on all of the competition to make the Reds opening day roster. It’s thought-provoking, if only for all the variables that are involved in who makes the final cut:

Picking the roster on March 5 is a tricky proposition. But you can get a pretty clear picture of the 25 players the Reds will bring north.

In the Reds’ case, there are two big variables: Will they go with two or three catchers? Will they go with 11 or 12 pitchers?

Either way, one thing is certain: There are not a lot of spots up for grabs. In fact, if you count Josh Hamilton as on the roster – and we are – 23 of the 25 spots are pretty much spoken for. And, if they go with 12 pitchers, only one spot for a position player is open.

Listed as players on the bubble, as far as position players, are Mark Bellhorn, Chris Denorfia, Norris Hopper, Bubba Crosby, and Chad Moeller.

I’ll say this: Moeller shouldn’t even be in the discussion. Further, Denorfia shouldn’t even be in the discussion; he should be a lock to make the roster.

Out of the rest of that group, I wouldn’t mind seeing any of Hopper, Bellhorn, or Bubba make the team. Any of them could competently fill the role of 25th man. Frankly, I think Bellhorn is going to make the team, as he’s the only infielder on the list. That’s just a feeling that I have, based on little evidence other than Narron’s statements of how much he likes Bellhorn’s “versatility.”


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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

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15 Responses

  1. Chris

    Bellhorn is horrific, awful, terrible, and useless.

  2. CeeKeR

    I’m going to agree with Chris. Let’s try one of the younger guys for the 25th spot.
    And how about we don’t carry 3 catchers this year. We only ever really used the third catcher for pinch hitting, and there’s better options for us than Moeller for that role.

  3. Bill

    The final cuts will be determined by who has options left, and Denorfia and Hopper have options, according to Fay. Crosby’s on a major league contract, he makes the team.

  4. Chris

    True, but losing Crosby isn’t the end of the world. I think that if he is soundly beaten out – or more accurately, if he plays like crap this spring and someone else plays okay, he’s gone.

  5. GregD

    Article didn’t mention Bailey. Is he no longer a long-shot for the 5th spot?

    According to the Fay article, pitchers are (4 starters) Harang, Arroyo, Lohse, Milton (6 relievers) Bray, Coffey, Cormier, Stanton, Weathers, Saarloos + Belisle as 5th starter/7th reliever. That leaves 1 spot at most if they go with 12 pitchers. The 12th spot goes to Livingston, Wilson, Ramirez, Santos, Dumatrait, Shackleford, Salmon, Burton, Hermanson (or possibly Bailey or Majewski.)

    I’m not sure Hamilton is a shoo-in for a roster spot, but he’s an early leading candidate. Without him, 11 spots are spoken for. The remaining guys fighting for 2 (or 3 spots if they carry 11 pitchers) are Moeller, Bellhorn, Denorfia, Hopper, Crosby, and Hamilton.

  6. BubbaFan

    I think the Hammer is a shoe-in for a roster spot. Barring injury or a failed drug test, they’re keeping him.

    Fay thinks he may actually be the starting CFer. If so, Freel could be considered the utility infielder.

    Bubba has a split contract. I believe they could start him in Louisville if they wanted to. But he’s got no options left. That being the case, I think that means Hopper or Deno would have to play a lot better than Bubba to make the team over him. That’s just the way it works, especially if you like to carry three catchers (or 13-14 pitchers, like the Yankees sometimes did).

  7. Michael

    If Bellhorn makes the team, I think he has Tony Womack written all over him. He’ll be gone by May.

  8. Daedalus

    i’ve been railing against bellhorn for a week now – he is the absolute worst roster spot of every one. the guy has never hit his weight save for once, and we don’t need a .973 career fielding percentage utility guy. too bad for keppinger – i hope bellhorn breaks his ankle, no hard feelings to him personally, but it’s the only way he won’t make this team, and it’s best for the club.

  9. Chris

    Bellhorn was SO bad last year on the Padres. It was just horrific: .190 .285 .344, and 90 strikeouts in only 253 ABs.

    Then they went and put him on the post-season roster, for reasons that nobody understood. Surprise – he whiffed in his only PA.

  10. Glenn

    I get your point, but truth be told Belhorn would love to have Womack’s skills. That’s how bad he is.

  11. preach

    I still can’t shake Jerry’s voice saying: “He’s a wily veteran who really knows how to play the game”….

  12. preach

    I would really have preferred to have had the option of bringing Keppinger north with us. I think that a utility team of Castro, Conine, Keppinger, and whoever our other outfielder might be would have been more than sufficient(with super sub Freel, of course). Get rid of Moeller, add Livingston to the bullpen, give Saarloos the fifth rotation spot, bring up Homer in May, and win the division. Sure their are acceptable variations on this plan, but to me none of them involve Bellhorn or Moeller.

  13. preach

    Bellhorn is Womack without the skills. That’s funny….sad, in a way, but amusing none the less…

  14. Michael

    but Bellhorn was on a World Championship team – he knows how to win! 🙂