Cincinnati Reds create questions about spots on the 25-man roster with trades of veterans

Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds created holes in their 25-man roster with the trades of Dan Straily and Brandon Phillips.

The Cincinnati Reds have traded both Dan Straily and Brandon Phillips for five prospects since January 1.  That opens up a place in the starting rotation and second base.  More important, it opens up two spots on the 25-man roster.

The most likely person to take advantage of the Straily deal will be top pitching prospect Amir Garrett.  Heading into spring training games, he had been penciled in to the number four spot in the rotation.  Prior to the deal, it looked like Garrett’s immediate future would be in Triple-A or the bullpen.  He is looking good to make the rotation.

The other big winner here is left-hander Cody Reed.  He took a step back last year with a bad debut in Cincinnati.  In 10 starts in Cincinnati Reed had a 7.36 ERA and went 0-7.

With Reed’s slightly diminished reputation former New York Yankees’ starting pitcher prospect Rookie Davis may be able to take advantage.  Heading into the off-season Davis appeared to be at least half of a season away from making his debut, but he appears closer now.  With Robert Stephenson dropping the ball, Davis and homegrown phenom Sal Romano are in the mix for a spot in the rotation.

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Of course, recent signee Scott Feldman is perhaps the pitcher that gained the most from this upheaval.  He earned a contract just days after the Straily deal.  More recently he was granted a shot at starting due to an injury sustained by Homer Bailey and then the opening day start.

The Cincinnati Reds have more upheaval on their bench than in their pitching staff with Brandon Phillips gone.

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It created a huge hole on the bench, when Jose Peraza moved to shortstop.  Arismendy Alcantara is looking to fill Peraza’s role as a flexible back-up, but that just leaves his role as pinch-hitter and defensive replacement open all the wider.  Who makes the team because of these shifts on the roster is the question at hand.

Intriguingly, the person who may sneak onto the Reds’ opening day roster may be Hernan Iribarren.  After an exceptional season at Louisville last year, the Reds called Iribarren up when Zack Cozart’s season ended and Peraza had to play shortstop.  Iribarren hadn’t been in the majors since 2009 and took his shot batting .311 with 3 triples to end the season.

The other person who is in great position to take advantage of this change is Brandon Dixon, who played second base at Double-A Pensacola last season.  He went to the Arizona Fall League to work on playing the corner infield positions.  That makes him ideal to fill the role as a bench player, if he can prove that he can hit at the big league level.

This also may allow the Reds to carry a bigger bat as a primary pinch-hitter.  The Reds were able to grab former Seattle Mariners top hitting prospect Patrick Kivlehan off of waivers from the last fall.  The flexibility of Alcantara could allow the Reds to keep the corner infielder/outfielder Kivlehan on the roster.  He could function as a designated pinch-hitter.

Next: Davis vs. Romano for the last spot in the rotation

Regardless of what happens, it is nice that the Reds finally have enough talent to have competitions for the roster spots.  Unlike last spring, there are more pitchers than spots on the staff.  Now the Reds can figure out who is the best and who will stay on the major league roster.