The Cincinnati Reds had been a bit late to the spring cut game to date, thanks in large part to a schedule that saw them play a series of split-squad games in back to back fashion. Seven games since Saturday meant they wanted a full cadre of players around, but with that stretch in the rear-view mirror and an off-day looming Wednesday, the club finally announced their first round of cuts from big league camp.
Per the team, each of Nick Lodolo and Jonathan India were reassigned to minor league camp, though neither was ever really expected to crack the big league roster by Opening Day (or at all in 2020, realistically). They were just two of eleven players reassigned in the cuts, including former big league reliever David Carpenter and the hard-throwing Ryan Hendrix.
The Reds have reassigned to minor league camp RHP Tejay Antone, RHP David Carpenter, RHP Ryan Hendrix, LHP Nick Lodolo, RHP Tony Santillan, LHP Josh Smith, C Chris Okey, IF Jonathan India, IF Blake Trahan, OF Stuart Fairchild and OF Boog Powell.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 11, 2020
None of the moves should truly come as a surprise, though perhaps what is of note is that neither Jose Garcia nor Tyler Stephenson were included in this round of cuts.
Garcia, of course, has been a revelation in camp at both short and with the bat, having clubbed his 4th dinger of the spring earlier Tuesday. Since he’s never once taken a PA above A+ ball, the odds are incredibly stacked against him breaking camp with the Reds, though his production in camp paired with the lingering injuries to incumbent shortstop Freddy Galvis probably earned him at least another few days of opportunities in camp to impress.
Meanwhile, Stephenson has been similarly impressive in camp, and since he’ll likely start the year in AAA is certainly a more realistic bet to actually crack the big leagues at some point in 2020 even if that’s not on Opening Day. As a catcher who’s that close, it’s unsurprising to see him kept around, as learning the staff is as much a part of catcher development as the actual reps behind the plate. (It’s also worth noting that since Galvis’ injury has had Kyle Farmer playing shortstop instead of catching more often than not, having another future big league backstop around is more important at the moment than you might notice on the surface.)
There will be more cuts, obviously, and soon - hell, the regular season is slated to start in just over two weeks. For now, though, the playing time picture for the next stretch of Cactus League play has become a bit more clear.