Cincinnati Reds Reportedly Place Jake Cave on Waivers

Mar 5, 2016; Mesa, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Jake Cave (30) singles in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2016; Mesa, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Jake Cave (30) singles in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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With their latest move, the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day roster may be set.

According to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans, the Reds have waived Rule 5 draft selection Jake Cave. If he clears waivers, he’ll be offered back to the New York Yankees for $25,000, a deal they will almost certainly take.

The outfielder started the spring on fire at the plate, but cooled down considerably as the month of March wore on. He finished with a slash line of .226/.317/.302 in 61 plate appearances, with one double, one home run and two stolen bases, along with seven walks against 12 strikeouts.

The move leaves the Reds’ roster essentially set once all of the team’s injured players are placed on the disabled list. Waiving Cave means the bench will be occupied by Tucker Barnhart, Ivan De Jesus Jr., Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza and Jordan Pacheco.

Rosecrans speculates that Yorman Rodriguez — who is out of minor-league options and has to be on the roster to avoid being placed on waivers — will be put on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

There are several curious decisions in play here. The first is the Reds’ decision to keep Peraza. Members of the team’s management have said on multiple occasions that they want the 21-year-old to get regular at-bats, whether it be in Triple-A Louisville or Cincinnati. With Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton coming off of injuries and Brandon Phillips being 34 years old, Peraza should be able to fill in as they get rest, but will that be more than three or four games per week?

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The Reds also chose to keep Pacheco, who is 30 years old, on the roster over Cave, who is 23. Most likely, the reasoning is that Pacheco can serve as the emergency catcher in the event that Devin Mesoraco‘s surgically hip bothers him, which hasn’t been the case at all since he started playing in spring games. Pacheco also plays first base, second base, third base and left field. He batted .313/.389/.625 with six doubles, three home runs and eight runs batted in on the spring, while walking five times and striking out 11.

For a club that’s rebuilding, the Reds conceivably want to get younger. That would mean keeping players like Cave, who may not be major league ready at the moment but has more long-term potential than Pacheco, who has a career fWAR of minus-3.5 and has bounced around from the majors to the minors in recent years.

Only time will tell whether or not Walt Jocketty and company made the right move, but for a club undergoing a self-proclaimed youth movement, keeping Pacheco over Cave seems to be an odd, if not inadvisable, move.