The list is long, but distinguished.
The Cincinnati Reds, through their frugality and ineptitude at the table of winning, have long chosen the roster-building route that banks heavily on getting one last ride, one last pitch out of players who have otherwise been passed over by teams with higher, more concrete ambitions. They scour the waiver wire, they do everything within their power to cobble together veterans looking for a chance to bounce-back, and bring in hoards on minor league deals in search of a flash in the pan.
When you look back at the rosters they’ve put together in recent memory, you see a lengthy list of players who plied their trade across the baseball landscape whose final big league action came while wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform. The impression, of course, becomes that when no other team thought that player had anything left to give, the Reds felt otherwise.
Ryan Ludwick. Skip Schumaker. Jason Marquis. Jack Hannahan, Ramon Santiago, Jason Bourgeois. Brennan Boesch. Kevin Gregg. Burke Badenhop, Scott Feldman, Ryan Mattheus. Cliff Pennington, Christian Colon, Matt Bowman, Zach Duke. Mike Freeman. Asdrubal Cabrera. Scott Heineman. Shogo Akiyama.
The many names from the many, many lean years of the second-to-last Reds rebuild still elicit some pretty potent memories around here, almost none of them good. Fresh off a 100 loss season and with more damning losses looming for 2023 as we wait, again, for the one perfect wave to crest, the odds are that we’re going to see another plethora of veterans ride off into their baseball sunset with one check from the Reds themselves.
The 2022 roster might’ve had a handful, though we’ll need a few more years of hindsight to confirm.
Mike Minor is already mulling retirement after a brutal season, while Justin Wilson will likely be 36 before he can even pick up a baseball again following Tommy John surgery. Ross Detwiler’s status as a healthy lefty might give him some more chances, but he didn’t exactly set the world on fire with those chances this season, either. Chase Anderson, meanwhile, was even less effective at 34 and throws from the right side of the rubber.
The catching churn at the big league level is palpable, as the Reds themselves displayed in 2022, and that could mean that some of the nine-thousand backstops they used during this season get big league shots again down the road. Over-30 infielders Taylor Motter and JT Riddle face a steep uphill battle to win their way back onto a big league roster after their 2022 seasons, too.
How cheaply the Reds attempt to fill out their 2023 roster remains to be seen, but all signs point towards it being dealt with with austerity. The burgeoning need for 40-man roster spots for their cache of prospects will dictate a good portion of that, of course, though the club’s insistence that they only get around to investing in the club when the sun rises at the precise time on the precise solstice means 2023 will likely feature the least risky, least costly peripheral players whenever that avenue is open.
Might that mean the return of Josh Harrison to Cincinnati in a sound of inevitability move we’ve anticipated for a decade? Adam Duvall for one last ride? Andrew McCutchen, or Kevin Pillar? Mike Moustakas! There’ll be Mike Moustakas! Chris Archer to splice together an otherwise green rotation? Or, will that rotation vet spot go to Kyle Gibson, instead?
(Kyle Gibson...it’s really going to be Kyle Gibson.)
Anyway, as the Reds lay mostly dormant again this winter, at least we’ll be due another batch of Remember Some Guys dough to work with. At least we’ll always have that.