In the spirit of BK's roster breakdown yesterday, I will do something similarly today. To be explicit about it, I will look at each position's crunch on both the 40-man side of things and the 25-man side of things, since boy hoowee, we have issues on both of them.
Which is probably more dramatic than it needs to be. The Reds' rotation and starting 8 are all basically set, and the only worries are bench depth and the last few men in the bullpen. This is normal! The major leagues are full of teams with depth issues, but it's much better than 10 years ago when all the Reds had was a few solid outfielders and a bevy of bullpenners. And yet, despite this request for calm, I asked RR's resident foley artist, Ryan Wagner, for a Sound Effect that Explains the Reds Spring Training and this is what I received:
So. Concerns exist. But let's see where they should be directed towards.
Here's how this is going to work: players not on the 40-man will be *asterisked. Men on the 40-man will have their number of option years left in (parentheses). Individuals whose option years are irrelevant like Bruce or Votto will have nothing. Players will be listed in terms of highest-to-lowest playing time with my best estimation. Players who I believe will be left off of the 25-man next week will be italicized. Players starting on the DL will be ^carroted because I am running out of symbols.
Brayan Pena (S/R)
Devin Mesoraco (R/R) (2)
Tucker Barnhart (S/R) (3)
Corky Miller (R/R)*
Max Ramirez has gotten no run this spring, and I don't see why that should change. My bet is that Mesoraco is good enough to go, if not start Opening Day. Since Neftali Soto is nearly a lock to make the OD roster, he can serve as an emergency C and give Devin an extra day or two in the get-go as Brayan gets the first two starts of the season. I also get a feeling that we're gonna fall in love with Brayan a bit this year.
That said, if Golem is really gonna have trouble -- and oblique strains can be trouble -- than we may see Barnhart have a sincerely weird year as he gets 200 PAs and serves essentially in that "first-round pick spends a year as backup QB" role as Mesoraco gets skipped over a bit. Something tells me that Mesoraco's sheer orneriness and his realization that he could soon be overtaken at the position gets him playing.
Joey Votto (L/R)
Brandon Phillips (R/R)
Zack Cozart (R/R)
Todd Frazier (R/R)
Neftali Soto (R/R) (3)
Kris Negron (R/R) (3?)*
Skip Schumaker (L/R)^
Jack Hannahan (L/R)^
Ramon Santiago (S/R)*
Chris Nelson (R/R)*
We give Skip and Jack a lot of guff (which is a 1950's sentence if I ever read one), but they were supposed to be the lefties off of the bench. Both won't be back until June at the best, and it could be longer. The Reds have said that neither will be 60-dayed to open up a roster spot, but I find that incredibly hard to believe. They can do rehab assignments in that second month, and the dropoff from one of them to Negrontiagoson isn't so severe as to need them back ASAP.
Negron is probably the most versatile option remaining, which is why I think he gets the spot. Even if I was pretty sure the Kris Negron era had come and gone a while back.
Congrats Neftali Soto! You are still healthy and on the 40-man, so you get the Jacob Cruz Chair in the Opening Day Bench!
Negron can probably serve as the backup across the diamond, with Frazier giving Votto a blow if at all necessary. Sheldon has a dirty little headline asserting that Hamilton could cover at SS if necessary, even though all of his Price quotes say that such a thing won't happen unless truly necessary. For whatever reason, the first thing I think of with Hamilton playing SS is some gawddawful Naked Gun-esque car crash happening to him. Kris Negron is competent and completely fungible, so he's the guy until Jack comes back.
Oh and by the way, it turns out that Jocketty hands out two-year contracts because he expects the player to be injured for one of them.
Jay Bruce (L/L)
Billy Hamilton (S/R) (3)
Chris Heisey (R/R) (1)
Ryan Ludwick (R/R)
Roger Bernadina (L/L)*
Donald Lutz (L/R) (2)
Ryan LaMarre (R/L) (3)
Jason Bourgeois (R/R)*
As I hinted at with the infielders, this team is currently without a left-handed bench bat. I can't imagine that this team is okay with starting the season that way, and with Bernadina having a hot spring and being CF-capable, it would be nice to see him make the team.
That said, I'm somewhat surprised that Lutz hasn't been brought back up to big-league camp. He's the only other lefty on the 40-man roster, and even if he was pretty unimpressive last year, he's still left-handed last time I checked.
LaMarre could get some run with the next big outfield injury, and JaBo just came into camp with leg problems and never really got a chance. I don't see what he offers that Negron doesn't, except Negron has more flexibility.
Please be good, Billy Hamilton.
You too, Ludwick.
Johnny Cueto (R/R)
Mike Leake (R/R) (1)
Tony Cingrani (L/L) (2)
Homer Bailey (R/R)
Alfredo Simon (R/R) (0)
Mat Latos (R/R)^
Brett Marshall (R/R)
Holmberg Holmberg (L/L)
Jeff Francis (L/L)*
The order is a bit fuchacta right now, and I fully expect Bailey to be fine, but to be held out of the opening Cardinals series. Giving Simon a couple starts at the beginning of the season isn't the dumbest thing possible (Greg Reynolds had 5 starts last year. Sam LeCure had 4 in 2011. It's cool), and would let Latos come in at his own rate. Depth isn't exactly thrilling, but I get the feeling that there won't be a single guy in the Louisville rotation I'll poop about if he makes a start in red this year.
JJ Hoover (R/R) (2)
Sam LeCure (R/R) (0)
Manny Parra (L/L) (0)
Logan Ondrusek (R/R) (1)
Pedro Beato (R/R) (0)
Nick Christiani (R/R) (2)
Lee Hyde (R/L) (3)*
Brett Marshall (R/R) (0)
Jumbo "Jumbito" Diaz (R/R)*
Trevor Bell (L/R)*
Jeff Francis (L/L)*
Aroldis Chapman (L/L)^
Sean Marshall (L/L)^
Jon Broxton (R/R)^
This rundown is a bit different, since I put the three obviously-injured stud relievers at the bottom, even though they might come back soon. And anyways, I have no idea how usage is going to work, other than JJ will likely be the closer-in-waiting, LeCure will be the fireman, and Parra will be the LOOGY.
I'm the sort of person that gets really worried about having only one lefty in the pen. But Price has said numerous times that he doesn't mind using righties with good stuff against lefties, and besides there are very few good LHBs in the NL Central who don't wear wishbone C's. So maybe Hyde won't get the final spot after all.
So who does? Tito Marshall is on the 40-man, which gives him a pretty hefty leg-up on the pretty hefty Diaz (who is lovably listed with "Jumbo" as his given name on the Reds' official website). Trevor Bell has also been solid, and at least looks like Sean Marshall in the face if not in the statsheet.
Why hasn't Jeff Francis gotten LOOGY looks?
I get a kick out of bullpen arms that bat from a different arm than they throw. Who, exactly, do they think they're fooling?
So How Does It Work Out?
This roster adds two batters to the 40-man and one pitcher. Which is great, but there is simply no room for them.
I would be flabbergasted to see Chapman not on the 60-day injury list. There's no rush to get him back when his head is still stapled shut. Broxton actually seems somewhat close to coming back, but Marshall...not so much. So let's 60-day Chapman and pick up a spot there.
The fielders are tougher. The outfielders that stood to be cut are Yorman, Juan Duran, LaMarre, and Donald Lutz. All of which are in the Reds' plans, so unless there's some sort of trade worked out and which would be kind of jerky from a front-office perspective, it's full. Skip seems to think that he can be out only a month. Hannahan is in this weird spot where I could see him being a strictly-PH guy until he can field or never being in a Reds jersey again and not be surprised either way. The same with Soto, come to think of it.
One might think that Partch, Corcino, or Christiani could be booted to make up space. True, there's been no inklings of that sort of thing, but it's not exactly like Jocketty goes around minor-league camp picking his teeth with a machete and seeing who looks at him funny either.
So what happens? I don't know! My guess is that Chapman and Hannahan are 60-day DLed and that Negron and Bernadina take their places. And that I'm wrong about Hyde/Diaz and that Marshall gets that spot after all. This is one of the weirder springs I can remember in that options aren't really playing into it, but merely getting healthy bodies in the right places in the team are what's important. I miss the straightforwardness of options, to be honest.
Hopefully this cleared things up, badenjr!