How will the Cincinnati Reds work their 40-man roster?


Chris Nelson and Jose “Jumbo” Diaz are fighting for roster spots with the Reds, but neither is currently on the 40-man roster. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds slew of injuries this spring has left them needing to fill spots on the 25-man roster for Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton, Aroldis Chapman, Skip Schumaker, Jack Hannahan and perhaps Mat Latos. While it seems that only the spots left by Chapman and Schumaker may be for more than a few weeks, it does leave the Reds with several tough choices to make.

Players must be on the teams 40-man roster to be placed onto the big league 25-man roster. There are several players who are performing well this spring at positions that are open for competition that are not currently on the 40-man roster. Roger Bernadina, Chris Nelson, Kristopher Negron, Trevor Bell and Jose “Jumbo” Diaz are all doing their best to make the roster. Here are their stats through the game on March 24th:

The main issue would be clearing a roster spot to make way for one or more of these players. The Reds have said that they will not use a 60-day disabled list spot for Aroldis Chapman, which would free up a spot. With everyone else on the list likely to be ready before 60 days, the only way that the Reds will clear up a spot is going to be to waive someone. That would allow any other team to claim that player and place them on their 40-man roster.

Looking at the current 40-man roster, I eliminated anyone who looks to be a sure-fire 25-man roster player and anyone who was a Top 5 prospect on one prospect list or another this offseason. That left these 10 players:

It would seem that these are the most likely guys to have their 40-man roster spot in jeopardy. With Pedro Beato, Nick Christiani and Brett Marshall all still in big league camp, you would imagine that they are pretty safe. The same goes for Neftali Soto on the position side of things, so let’s eliminate those four players from the conversation.

Working through the remaining six players we have Daniel Corcino, Ismael Guillon, Curtis Partch, Juan Duran, Ryan LaMarre and Donald Lutz. There are three pitchers and three outfielders, so let’s look at each group of players.

Daniel Corcino has drawn comparisons to Johnny Cueto because of their similar size, mechanics and pitch selection. Corcino has struggled to throw strikes for the last two seasons though and has seen his stuff take a step backwards as well. It was just two years ago that he was viewed as a top prospect in the system, but his 2013 season and rough outings this spring could leave his spot on the roster open. Ismael Guillon is a left hander who can throw in the mid 90’s and while his control is also rather suspect at times, you don’t often see teams give up on hard throwing lefties at the age of 22. His spot seems safe. Curtis Partch can throw 100 MPH and often sits in the 93-96 MPH range, but he struggled in his big league debut during the 2013 season to throw strikes, walking one more hitter than he struck out. While he has a big arm, and he had a good, but limited big league spring training, the 27-year-old could also see his spot up for grabs.

Outfielder Juan Duran was added to the 40-man roster in December. With the best power potential in the system and a $2M signing bonus, the 22-year-old seems pretty safe to remain on the roster. Ryan LaMarre was also just added to the 40-man roster in December. The former 2nd rounder struggled in the first half of 2013, but rebounded well to hit .281 in the second half with good power and outstanding defense in center. With good tools and premium defense, he seems rather safe on the roster. Donald Lutz saw time with the big league club in 2013, but he clearly wasn’t ready as he was used sparingly off of the bench. When he returned to the minors he struggled with injuries before being shut down for the last few weeks of the season. He has some good pop in his bat, but his limited defensive role (first base and left field) could put his roster spot in the air.

The 40-man roster doesn’t have as much wiggle room as it once did and making room for a non-roster invitee could be a tough decision for the Reds on who they decide to try and get through waivers. Would they try to get Daniel Corcino through after all of his struggles? Would it be Curtis Partch who has a big time arm but is among a crowded bullpen where his struggles with the strikezone stand out? Maybe it would be Donald Lutz who may not have the versatility that is needed. No matter how the Reds look at it, if they do decide to go with a non-roster invitee (or more than one), they may be losing an intriguing player off of their 40-man roster to another organization thanks to the run of injuries that has left them short handed this spring.