For the Reds to play a best-of series in the 2013 playoffs, they’ll have to win the 2nd Annual National League Coin Toss game, otherwise known as the Wild Card game. There’s the obvious disadvantage to the non-division winners in this format. However, there is one wrinkle to this playoff game that makes its roster decisions unlike those made in other playoff series.
PLAYOFF ROSTER RULES
The playoff rules allow teams to set their 25-man roster for each round of the playoffs from their playoff roster pool. The Wild Card game is considered its own round. In the other rounds, teams will typically carry 4 starting pitchers. In the Wild Card game, you would not need to carry a full starting rotation. You may not carry as many relievers as you would in other rounds. This change would seem to make it an almost certainty that Billy Hamilton makes the Wild Card postseason roster. SI.com writer Joe Sheehan pointed out last year that it means that teams, which would normally have a few dead roster spots in a postseason series that go to starting pitchers just used or ones scheduled to be used, or perhaps slots for emergency backups in case of injury, could instead craft a bench on which every player has a specific role in winning one do-or-die game.
As I wrote last year, an organization’s postseason player pool is comprised of players who were on the 25-man roster or on the disabled, bereaved, suspended or miltary lists on August 31. For any player in this group who cannot play the post-season because of injury, the club can replace him with any player who was in the organization on August 31. Even players not on the 40-man roster can be added through this process, so long as they are added to the 40-man for the playoffs.
REDS PLAYOFF ROSTER ELIGIBILES
Those rules provide us with the following 31 players in the Reds playoff player pool:
— Starting Pitchers (7): Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake, Greg Reynolds, Johnny Cueto (DL), Tony Cingrani (DL)
— Relief Pitchers (10): Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra, Alfredo Simon, Logan Ondrusek, Zach Duke, Sean Marshall (DL), Jonathan Broxton (DL), and Nick Masset (DL)
— Starting Position Players (9): Ryan Hanigan, Devin Mesoraco, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick, Sin-Shoo Choo, and Jay Bruce
— Bench Position Players (5): Cesar Izturis, Jack Hannahan, Chris Heisey, Xavier Paul, and Corky Miller (DL)
Of those 31 players, we know that Jonathan Broxton and Nick Masset are still on the disabled list and are not available to play in the playoffs. The Reds could substitute any player, including Billy Hamilton. The substituted player does not have to be a pitcher.