The Cincinnati Reds gave away Tucker Barnhart just after last year’s World Series, turning over the full-time catching duties to Tyler Stephenson. Stephenson, however, endured a miserable season health-wise in 2022, and the end result was the exposure of an extreme lack of quality depth at the catching position within the organization.
When you have five catchers, you have no catchers, as the saying doesn’t go (but kinda should). It’s a concept I looked at deeper earlier this week.
With a glut of players on the 60-day IL who need to get back onto the active roster, the Reds made a handful of players available on waivers upon the completion of their regular season, and today it was announced that several had been claimed - and that several had not been claimed, and therefore were booted off the 40-man roster and back to AAA. Among the claimed were a trio of catchers who got time for the Reds this season: Michael Papierski, Aramis Garcia, and Mark Kolozsvary.
Also gone from the roster is catcher Chuckie Robinson, who cleared waivers and will be depth, for the time being, at AAA. He’ll be joined by pitchers Ryan Hendrix and Raynel Espinal, who joined him as unclaimed former 40-man roster members.
Beyond the 60-day IL returners, the Reds are going to have to find room on the 40-man roster for a series of high-profile prospects who’ll need protection from this winter’s Rule 5 Draft, too - Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte chief among them.
As The Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith pointed out, the presumptive decline of Mike Minor’s team option will, in the wake of these moves, get the 40-man roster down to 39 members. So, expect there to be much more roster churn in the coming weeks as they attempt to unwind themselves from the mess that was the 2022 roster and streamline it for another season of rebuilding in 2023.
So it begins!