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The upcoming Cincinnati Reds roster decisions

A look at the next overhaul we'll see on the club's roster in the coming months.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One week from tomorrow, Major League clubs will be making their September call-ups as rosters expand concurrent with the completion of most Minor League regular seasons.  Well, the rosters won't technically "expand," rather teams are allowed expanded use of their existing rosters to fill their dugouts and lineups with any player currently active on the 40-man.

For the Cincinnati Reds, that won't make too large of a change to the product they've had on the field for most of the year, as only 5 of the current members of their 40-man roster have yet to make their big league debuts, with the rest having already cracked a lineup at some point in the past - and one of those is Dilson Herrera, who just recently arrived and has spent upwards of a year of service time on the New York Mets big league roster to date.  Each of Rookie Davis, Abel de los Santos, Sal Romano, Amir Garrett, and Herrera will be eligible to be called up and used by the Reds a week from tomorrow, though it's likely only Davis, Garrett, and Herrera will get the initial call.  For one, those three have already reached AAA Louisville, but more important to the timing here is that Romano and de los Santos will be with AA Pensacola in the Southern League playoffs at that point, and therefore won't be getting the earliest call.

Likely to join those three are a few names that have already spent some time with the big league Reds so far this year, ones from both the top and bottom of the various top prospect lists.  Robert Stephenson will likely get the September 1st call despite his recent struggles, as will frequent I-71 shuttle rider Kyle Waldrop.  Keyvius Sampson will also likely rejoin the Reds after his recent roster-crunch demotion, and there's a decent chance former spot-starter Daniel Wright gets called back up whether he sees time on the mound or not.  That leaves both Cody Reed and Steve Selsky as the only other healthy members of the team's 40-man roster not already on the 25-man; Reed's a lock to at least make it back to the big league dugout, and I'd wager the team will likely bring Selsky up to ride the pine as well.

Each of Jon Moscot, John Lamb, and Alfredo Simon are eligible to be recalled, but each currently resides on either the MiLB DL or the team's 15-day DL.  Further removed from potential action are the 60-day DL members of the roster:  Caleb Cotham, Yorman Rodriguez, Devin Mesoraco, and A.J. Morris, none of whom will be taking the field this September.

That pretty much constitutes the depth of the roster action we'll witness in the coming eight days.  However, it only serves as a precursor to the 40-man roster movement we'll see between now and December's Winter Meetings, where the Rule 5 Draft will allow all MLB franchises with open roster spots to pluck unprotected prospects from other systems - the same way the Reds ended up with Jake Cave from the New York Yankees last spring (before opting not to keep him and sending him back to New York).  And really, it's the leadup to that particular event that will likely feature more moving and shaking of the big league roster than the Reds have had to do in quite some time.

Doug Gray has a well-detailed primer up at RedsMinorLeagues.com about the litany of talented prospects the Reds will have to either add to the 40-man prior to December or risk losing to Rule 5 Draft selections, and it shines a bright light on the byproduct of the strategy the team's front office has been employing for nearly two years during this deep rebuild.  The Reds have largely opted to bring back near-MLB ready players in bulk in the returns for traded stars like Todd Frazier, Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, and Mike Leake, and the result is a glut of players who need 40-man roster spots all at the same time.  Gray lists 9 such players from the team's Top 25 overall prospects - as well as several talented others like Chad Wallach and Jonathon Crawford - and that puts a squeeze on many of the current Reds who may have performed well but aren't as young or highly regarded.

Compounding that problem, of course, are the three 60-day DL members, since at the end of the season their ability to skirt the roster will be revoked and they'll either have to occupy a 40-man spot or be waived.  In essence, that means that to add just the 9 prominent prospects Gray listed - headlined by Jesse Winker, Phil Ervin, and Nick Travieso - the team will have to shed at least 12 current players current listed on this page.

A few of those are obvious, at least, since each of Ross Ohlendorf and Alfredo Simon will be free agents and let go, but beyond that there are only a few that look like obvious selections.  Jumbo Diaz will likely be one due to his age and lack of improvement, and it's easy to see fringe guys like Wright, Cotham, Morris, Selsky, and Waldrop being cut loose due to the prevalence of younger, higher-upside talents.  Ivan De Jesus, Jr. might be gone, too, since the logjam of middle infielders the team currently boasts may well elbow him out, and the same can be said of Josh Smith in middle relief.  That means the likes of Tyler Holt, Ramon Cabrera, Sampson, Tim Adleman, Blake Wood, and Tony Renda will be looking to make significant impressions during the final 6+ weeks of the season since they'll be fighting for the final few roster spots that appear to be available - and the same, I suppose, could be said of de los Santos, too, though he'll obviously have to do the impression making in a less visible way.

The rebooty rebuild the Reds have been knee-deep in for some time has already overhauled much of the big league lineup itself, but the coming roster decisions will be the next major step in culling the upper-minors players that don't fit in the future of the team in much the same way.  And yes, there's absolutely the chance that trades will be made including some of these players to further thin things out, but given the patience used by the team's front office in recent years, it's hard to anticipate anything major enough happening before the Winter Meetings to make this all moot.  So while fans may not think there's much to watch the team play for over the last few dozen games of the season, there's certainly still plenty on the line for many of the names you've seen on the roster for several years now.