With a high number of players out of options, the Cincinnati Reds have few options for 2018 bench.
The Cincinnati Reds are limited on their bench in 2018 by the number of pitchers in the bullpen. With seven relievers in the bullpen the bench is limited to five players. Contracts will decide those players more than talent.
Devin Mesoraco takes one bench spot. He is the back-up catcher as long as he is on the team and isn’t on the disabled list. If injuries hold him back, last year’s Rule 5 selection Stuart Turner will likely play back-up catcher.
Dilson Herrera will automatically take another bench spot. He is out of options and the Reds project him to share second base with Scooter Gennett. There is no chance that he doesn’t make the team out of spring training.
A third bench spot will go to prospect Jesse Winker. Until the Reds trade center fielder Billy Hamilton, there is nowhere for Winker to play on a day to day basis. That makes Winker the highest ranked prospect in baseball to sit on an MLB bench starting the 2018 season.
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Of course that means that the Reds don’t have a back-up center fielder. The only other position player on the forty man roster that isn’t a starter, who has any MLB experience, is Phil Ervin. He will start the season in Cincinnati if they trade Hamilton and may very well do so, even if the Reds retain Hamilton.
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Just looking at who the Cincinnati Reds must have to start the season, informs as to they will have.
Ervin’s position on the team relies on a seven man bullpen. If they end up with an eight man bullpen, Ervin will start the season in Louisville. Unless the Reds believe that Herrera or Euegnio Suarez can play a decent shortstop, they need a shortstop more than a back-up center fielder.
If the Reds have a decent defensive shortstop on the active roster, then starting shortstop Jose Peraza can back-up center field. There is only one other shortstop on the forty man roster in prospect Alex Blandino. His offense was weak in the minors until he moved from shortstop to play second and third.
However the Reds address this, Herrera’s, Mesoraco’s, and Winker’s contract statuses appear set to determine the active roster in 2018. The Reds could still make some trades to alleviate the tightness. The goal should be to reach competitive status in 2020.