It happens every single year around this time, and it’s assuredly a bummer for all parties involved. That’s just how things roll when you open spring training with some 60 guys in camp eyeing a spot on the 25-man roster, especially when almost all of those spots are already spoken for.
Yes, the Cincinnati Reds made their first round of cuts today, and a few familiar names were reassigned to minor league camp.
Today the Reds reassigned to minor league camp RHP Jimmy Herget, RHP Felix Jorge, RHP Keury Mella, RHP Alex Powers, OF Jose Siri and RHP Jackson Stephens. There are 57 players remaining in big league camp.#RedsST ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/BcMSdeZEoI— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 11, 2019
Both Jackson Stephens and Keury Mella have logged big league innings before, and at times both have looked like they could well be legitimate relief options down the road. That won’t happen on Opening Day, though, especially not given the pitching reinforcements the Reds brought in over the winter. That tells a similar story for Jimmy Herget, too, who was the biggest name added to the team’s 40-man roster earlier in the winter but faced an obvious uphill battle to win a spot in the bullpen straight out of camp. It’s rather safe to say that each will still likely get a shot to return to the bigs later this year depending on how things shake out, but it will be particularly interesting to see if either of Mella or Stephens begins the year in a starting role or in relief.
As for Jose Siri, the toolsy CF will likely again join Taylor Trammell to begin the 2019 season to form one of the more entertaining and talented OF combos in the entire minor leagues, and given the depth in the big league OF at the moment (Nick Senzel and Michael Lorenzen apparently included...more on that in a sec), it’s unsurprisingly to see that he’s effectively being told that 2019 might not be the year of his debut. My best bet is that we’ll see Siri & Trammell begin together in AA Chattanooga, though there’s at least a chance Siri ends up in the AAA Louisville OF to begin the year.
Speaking of Trammell, The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale spoke with the Reds #2 prospect at length over the weekend about his first big league camp and the numerous trade rumors that surrounded him during the Reds busy offseason. And if you’re wondering why you haven’t seen much of Trammell in big league action of late, there’s a reason for that, too - he’s dealing with some sprained fingers after getting them caught in a fence during a drill earlier in camp. He’s supposed to be just fine soon, however.
As our tour of potential Reds OFs continues in this here Reposter, next up is...Michael Lorenzen? Yep, the longtime Reds reliever and resident biceps spokesman in camp is actually going to get some run as the team’s CF today, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported. It’s such an odd scenario that I’m having a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around it, honestly. The Reds currently feature ample OF depth with Senzel, Yasiel Puig, Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker, Matt Kemp, Phil Ervin, and Derek Dietrich all around, so in that vein it’s odd to see a guy who hasn’t played positionally with any regularity in years suddenly get run out in CF in a real, live big league camp. That said, Lorenzen is quite the athlete with both CF experience in college and some jaw-dropping hitting stats from last year (albeit in a small sample), so perhaps it’s just doesn’t hurt to see what he can do out there. Given that David Bell has insisted that he wants 13 pitchers on the roster, that does squeeze the bench a bit, so knowing if Lorenzen can do both would provide, in theory, somewhat of a faux 26th man at Bell’s disposal.
(Still, if I was Kemp, I’d sure be wondering if this was a harbinger of a late-spring trade. Not to mention that if I was Ervin, I’d be wondering what the heck I had to do to get my time in CF like that.)
In other news, The Athletic’s Eno Sarris caught up with Joey Votto once again, and per usual, the two combined to produce a freakin’ wonderful conversation on hitting, aging, and whatnot. It’s the latest in a long line of excellent content produced by the two, and may well be my favorite they’ve conjured up yet.
Finally, over at FanGraphs, Craig Edwards ran through his yearly count of the dead money set to be paid to players by MLB teams during the 2019 season, and that’s of particular note to Reds fans this year if you run back up the transaction tree of their winter. In other words, yes, the Los Angeles Dodgers sit firmly atop the chart, and we get to watch Yasiel Puig in a Reds uniform because of it. Thanks, luxury tax aversion!