Just minutes after claiming that my first projection of the 2022 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster would immediately be deemed irrelevant, my first projection of the 2022 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster was immediately deemed irrelevant. It ran last Thursday shortly after noon ET, and roughly a handful of minutes after it published manager David Bell revealed that the shoulder issues plaguing new Red Mike Minor would have him sidelined much longer than initial imagined.
That’s the nature of this exercise in almost every year, really, but this concentrated spring training paired with the long, lockout-layoff causing injuries to pile up has made pinpointing this year’s roster a bit more difficult. Add-in that the Reds continue to confound with their overall strategy - are they thinking long-term, short-term, thinking at all? - and it’s even more of a head-scratcher this time around.
(What the heck are they prioritizing, anyway?)
Anyway, here’s the latest update to the OD roster projections based on the most recent spate of injuries and reassignments from camp. Players with an * next to their name are not currently on the team’s 40-man roster, meaning they’ll need a corresponding roster transaction to make this work.
Tyler Stephenson, Aramis Garcia*
Joey Votto, Jonathan India, Kyle Farmer, Mike Moustakas, Max Schrock, Colin Moran
Tommy Pham, Nick Senzel, Tyler Naquin, Shogo Akiyama, Jake Fraley, Aristides Aquino
Tyler Mahle, Vlad Gutierrez, Reiver Sanmartin, Nick Lodolo*
Hunter Strickland, Luis Cessa, Tony Santillan, Art Warren, Justin Wilson, Dauri Moreta, Jeff Hoffman, Ryan Hendrix, Hunter Greene, Buck Farmer*
A few notes here:
- The IL looks to be crowded come Opening Day. I’ve baked in that each of Luis Castillo, Mike Minor, Lucas Sims, and Donovan Solano will be on the short one for day one (with pitchers on a 15-day, position players on the 10-day). I’m assuming the Reds will free up another 40-man roster spot by moving Justin Dunn to the 60-day IL alongside Tejay Antone, who’s already there.
- After the Reds reassigned both Ben Lively and Kyle Zimmer to minor league camp, that bumped Ryan Hendrix and Buck Farmer into bullpen roles, as both have looked the part so far in Cactus League play.
- Both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo are rostered here, echoing comments made by David Bell to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon last night. I do think that Lodolo’s earlier start to camp puts him on the ‘starter’ line before Greene, for now, with the latter’s time in camp starting later thanks to his presence on the 40-man roster all winter (and therefore inclusion in the lockout). Given that the Reds have an off-day after their four-game set in Atlanta to open the year, though, they won’t technically need a fifth starter the first time through.
- IMMEDIATE UPDATE: In what’s becoming a tradition here, literally a minute after I published this article it again became irrelevant. As The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale relayed, the starting rotation has been revealed, and while it doesn’t alter the overall 28 players listed above, it does include Greene - not Lodolo - as one of the team’s starters the first time through.
- Max Schrock makes the cut here after Donovan Solano’s injured hamstring from yesterday. Schrock hasn’t played shortstop since his A-ball days within the Washington Nationals organization, but given that he’d be the backup for a former catcher who’s getting starts at the position, I guess that’s less of a big deal that I’ve made it in my mind. With Solano and Jose Barrero out, though, there’s not really another natural backup on the roster, and even Brandon Drury - who has at least some big league experience there - isn’t on the roster. I just get the impression the Reds are going to roll the dice with this one and just hope like hell Farmer stays healthy.
- I still get the impression the Reds would do anything to get Shogo off the roster, and will even consider cutting him outright. He’s down the depth chart and there’s no real need for 6 outfielders, anyway. I should also mention here that after Aramis Garcia, Aristides Aquino is the only right-handed hitting bench bat in this here projection while Solano and Barrero are sidelined.
- I do anticipate there being at least one player who makes the Opening Day roster who is not yet in camp. ‘Tis the season for last-minute waiver claims as all teams look to reshuffle their rosters to add players, and I expect the Reds to be active in that arena. It will most likely be in the form of a relief arm who could be out of options, for instance, but I do suspect they’ll be shopping for a similar utility infielder who has shortstop experience if the right player comes along, too.