The Cincinnati Reds are schedule to report to Goodyear, Arizona for spring training in exactly three weeks. 21 days until we get to wait a few more weeks for actual practice baseball, folks! The full schedules of when both Grapefruit League and Cactus League squads are expected to report was announced last week, and the first full-squad workout for the Reds is slated for Monday, February 19th.
That’s all well and good, but is more administrative than anything. As we all know, folks who aren’t the first ones in line on Day One still have ample chance to break camp with the big league club, and that’s of particular importance in the case of rookie Noelvi Marte - he of the hamstring injury during winter ball that shut him down for the rest of the offseason. According to Nick Krall (via MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon), it appears that Marte is in-line to be ready and available come spring training, something that will only add to the intrigue of the infield mix in camp.
Krall said Noelvi Marte, who hurt his hamstring during Dominican winter ball, should be healthy and ready for Spring Training.— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) January 24, 2024
Marte was the final call-up of the big group of prospects last year, meaning it’s easy to consider him as the obvious one who might ‘need some more seasoning’ and get shipped back to AAA to begin the year and maintain the most dynamic depth on the overall 40-man roster. That said, it’s easy to forget that he’s actually three months older than Elly De La Cruz, too. Hopefully his health (and how ‘careful’ the Reds are with bringing him along) will have nothing to do with their plans for Opening Day.
Marte also checked in at #2 on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top 3B prospects in the game this week, even though they then proceeded to talk about every other 3B prospect on the list but him.
As for a guy who isn’t on the roster and, still, is not expected to be, Krall also relayed to Sheldon that Joey Votto remains out of the Reds plans for 2024.
Nick Krall to season ticket holders after one asked about Joey Votto: “We don’t plan to bring him back as of now.”— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) January 24, 2024
In other Reds news, it appears that minor leaguer Nick Quintana has retired. You may remember him from the deal that sent Tucker Barnhart to Detroit as quickly as possible to make sure the Reds were on the hook for as little salary as physically possible for the 2022 season.
In other news, the Milwaukee Brewers have a deal in place for 1B/DH Rhys Hoskins for a pair of years and $34 million (with an opt-out after this year). ESPN’s Jeff Passan had the news, as he is wont to do. Milwaukee had a clear need for a 1B, Hoskins had a desire to show what he could do again in 2024 after a knee injury cost him his entire 2023 season, and this seems to be the ideal fit for him on a short-term ‘show-me’ deal for a club that’s looking to contend. Jeimer Candelario sure does add some more defensive versatility to the Reds than Hoskins would have, but Hoskins’ bat sure seems to be superior - if he’s healthy. It’ll be an interesting parallel to track during the 2024 season as the two clubs duke it out in the NL Central.
Here’s an initial roster projection for the Reds that’s pretty wildly different than the one I’d make right now, if I were to make one.
Finally, congrats to former Reds star Brandon Phillips for getting more Hall of Fame vote(s) than Jose Reyes and James Shields. Last night’s voting reveal saw each of Todd Helton, Joe Mauer, and Adrian Beltre elected to the Hall, a distinction that each deserved despite the arrogance of the voters (and the dumb process itself) having cast a pall on the overall honor over the last generation.