The Cincinnati Reds placed Jake Cave on waivers on Thursday, the first step in the process of returning the Rule 5 pick either back to the New York Yankees or to another team that wishes to pluck him to carry on their 25-man roster. Thus revealed C. Trent Rosecrans of The Enquirer, which also makes the Opening Day Reds roster that much more clear.
#Reds placed Jake Cave on waivers, I'm told. that'll mean Pacheco, Schebler & Peraza should make team's bench— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) March 31, 2016
With news also leaking out that Yorman Rodriguez is battling a hamstring issue that could have him start the season on the 15-day DL, that pretty much limits the options for the final roster spots to Jordan Pacheco, Scott Schebler, and top young prospect Jose Peraza. And, well, all three of those players have interesting notes about them in this context.
Pacheco is likely making the team for a pair of reasons. First, he can catch in a pinch, and with Devin Mesoraco coming off hip surgery and being brought along slowly, Pacheco's versatility has apparently been seen as attractive enough to make the team, that paired with an impressive offensive spring. Of course, he's 30 and has been "worth" -3.5 bWAR in his career - along with being booted from both the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks - but that hasn't stopped the Reds from opting to keep him.
As for Schebler, it pretty much confirms much of what we'd come to expect, which is that he and Adam Duvall will form some form of a platoon in LF. All told, it's both predictable and a reasonable move, as the lefty has shown plenty of promise since being acquired in the Todd Frazier deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Peraza, though, is the question mark in these decisions. Given that he'll just turn 22 in a month, rushing him up to the big league level to start the season despite limited - and questionable - time and results at the AAA level seems odd, especially given the issue of service time (which I looked at in detail earlier in the week). He's blocked at 2B, SS, 3B, and CF, too, meaning it'll be hard to make sure he gets PAs on the regular while with the Reds, something that's vital to the development of any young player. Perhaps the team feels that scheduled off-days for Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton - both coming off major surgeries - will keep him in the lineup enough to make an impact, or perhaps he'll find a way into the LF rotation a bit, too. It's also feasible that since his service clock started last year (and sits at 42 days already), the team realized that he'd likely reach the 172 days that count as a year of service time at some point this year anyway, and therefore opted to bring him up from day one.
All told, it's a series of roster moves that probably makes the team bench a little bit stronger than it otherwise would've been with Cave, but it comes with the caveat that they've sacrificed depth by letting Cave get away altogether. He frees up yet another 40-man roster spot, too, which means it'll sit at 37 until Pacheco is officially added.