The Cincinnati Reds rounded out their 30-man Opening Day roster this morning, adding infielders Christian Colon and Matt Davidson to the roster. In order to create room for them on the 40-man roster, relievers Justin Shafer and Josh Smith were designated for assignment.

Matt Davidson has been the talk of Summer Camp this month as he has shown off big time pop in intrasquad scrimmages. Between his time in Goodyear in February and March, and then this July in Cincinnati, he was unofficially leading the team in home runs with six. It’s only unofficial because the games in Cincinnati didn’t count and no one was keeping official “spring training” stats for them – but we all were paying attention. The 29-year-old has hit lefties pretty well in his big league career, with a .268/.344/.461 line against them in 136 games played. Last season in Triple-A he hit .322/.407/.534 against lefties. A bat off of the bench against opposite-handed pitchers seems like a good role for Davidson, and maybe he will get a start or three against a left-handed starter during the year.

Christian Colon is about as opposite as Matt Davidson at the plate as you can get. Davidson has tons of pop but plenty of swing and miss. Colon, however, rarely strikes out, but also rarely shows off home run power. Last year in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats, Colon walked 57 times and struck out just 58 times in 582 plate appearances. With a juiced up baseball his 10 homers were the most he had hit since 2013, but he also had 37 doubles and two triples. He’s not going to be confused with Billy Hamilton in the power department, but he does have a more contact-like approach to his game at the plate. In situations for a pinch hitter where you need contact and a strong plate approach, Colon could fill that role nicely. Defensively he can fill in around the infield where you need him – though at shortstop he’s probably not a guy you play on a daily basis. That said, he did start 15 games there for Louisville last season, so he’s not a true emergency shortstop, either.

The two relievers being designated for assignment put the Cincinnati Reds player pool at 55. There are now 30 players on the opening day 30-man roster, with Anthony DeSclafani on the injured list. That leads 24 players on the Prasco Park alternate site roster. Cincinnati has some room to add players there if they would like, something that General Manager Nick Krall noted could happen later this summer if the opportunity presents itself.

23 Responses

  1. Eric the Red

    I confess, I’m a little nervous about Raley. He seems like a kind of reclamation project that could cost us a game or two before we do the inevitable and move on—which would be extra costly in a short season. Or best case, maybe he just soaks up some innings in games that are out of hand.

    I hope I’m wrong. But for a team with a lot of arms and a short season, his handedness seems to be getting more weight than his skill.

    Go Reds!

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’m a little nervous about Davidson, the strikeout king. He’s the starting DH today. As Doug mentions above, he does have a record of success against lefties. Watch Davidson today on breaking or offspeed pitches to see if he can touch them.

      • docproc

        Would much rather have Aquino than Davidson.

      • MBS

        Would rather have Aquino than most OF we have.

  2. Tom Mitsoff

    Are the players designated for assignment — the law firm of Schebler, Shafer and Smith — eligible to return to the taxi squad in Mason if they all clear waivers? In a normal year, I believe they would all be eligible for assignment to Louisville, for example, if they clear waivers and are not traded. Perhaps they would have the right to reject the assignment and become free agents? Not sure at all how all of that works in this unique year.

    • Amarillo

      As far as I know, Prasco is being treated as the minors in a normal year. This would mean that they can only refuse the assignment if they have been DFA’d at some point before this. (Which I don’t have info on)

    • Stock

      Shafer has 2 options so there is no risk in losing him. In fact that may be the reason he is there instead of Raley.

  3. IndyRedsFan

    It seems odd to me that you would DFA someone to add Colon to the roster when you could have just brought Blandino up for the 2 weeks.

    Any insight into what Colon can provide that Blandino can’t?

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Experience in a pennant race, post-season and a World Series. Not saying that I necessarily agree that it was the right move. Highly likely that he and Davidson will be gone by the cutdown to 28, barring injuries.

      It’s also possible that the rule that a player has to stay in the minors for 10 days after being optioned (except to replace an injured player) is still in play. That could also explain Colon over Blandino.

      • Ryan

        I think Colon makes an ideal player for the taxi squad. He can play everywhere and give a big league AB. Would have been nice to keep Shafer around, and there’s still a chance they might, but I think Colon over Blandino is enough of an upgrade to justify exposing him to waivers.

  4. Matt WI

    Lineup is out! Davidson (DH) and Ervin (LF) earn starts against the lefty.

    • vegastypo

      I wonder how much Shogo is going to play against lefties. I thought the financial commitment to him would mean more than a platoon role. Not in today’s lineup.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        That’s a bit disappointing. Maybe he will be just a platoon player. I was hoping for more than that.

      • Matt WI

        Well, I also think that as soon as the rosters start contracting back, Shogo will be there with more regularity. Right now Bell is probably trying out all the toys he is allowed to play with for two weeks.

  5. Redgoggles

    I think starting them is really just “guaranteeing” they hit against LH pitching, and Bell is “saving” his better hitters for in game PH roles. With more bench help, I think he will be more fluid with matchups at least early on. I would be shocked if Shogo and/or Winker don’t bat at least a couple times tonight.

    • Amarillo

      This is a really good point, I think you are spot-on.

    • Matt WI

      Agreed. And probably just riding a little bit of a “hot hand” approach with Davidson. See if he can get a hold of one against a lefty and get this party started. Winker will show up later in the game.

  6. TR

    You think we much more than a bag of balls or 100 CoVid tests from Atlanta for Schebler?

  7. Ryan

    Excited about the season and you have to feel good for Colon and Davidson. Well rounded team and healthy as could of hoped for.

    This team is going to score some serious runs. Other than the Dodgers(and they are big spending bullies regardless), i dont think an NL team was more ready for a DH.

  8. Kevin Patrick

    Thing is…the lefty has to throw it over the plate at some point. It’s ambush time…If the starter struggles with control early and a righty like Davidson can work a 3-1 count like he did a couple days ago…he might just guess right and launch one. Get an early lead for Gray…

  9. JNort

    So Aquino is 8th or lower on the OF/DH depth chart? If they feel that way they should have moved him! A depth starter would be useful.

  10. CFD3000

    I’m fine with Davidson for two weeks but Blandino would have been my pick over Colon by a lot. On the plus side, neither Blandino or Colon was going to get much time, and both of these guys will be gone when rosters get trimmed.