Cincinnati Reds announce tough pitching decisions

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

With Opening Day around the corner, the Cincinnati Reds clear pitchers off of their active roster.

The Cincinnati Reds have 23 pitchers on their forty man roster.  Even after the process of cutting some non-roster invitees, they had 11 non-roster pitchers in camp.  At some point this spring each of those 34 pitchers felt like he had a chance to make the team out of camp.

The difficult decision that the Reds had to make was optioning Robert Stephenson to Louisville.  This is the second spring in a row that he didn’t look ready to pitch when he arrived in camp.  With a 7.71 ERA and 2.23 WHIP, he needs to get himself back on track.

The other move that the Reds had to make was taking Oliver Perez out of contention for a bullpen spot.  Rather than sending him to the minor league camp, they released him.  He will have a chance to get onto another team.

The also sent Jackson Stephens down to Triple-A.  He had some good starts with the Reds last season, but was inconsistent overall.  This spring that inconsistency cost him any real chance at a roster spot.

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The Reds had already optioned out Keury Mella.  They are high on the young starter, but want more seasoning before he makes a run at a rotation spot.  With the injuries that have hit the rotation he could come back with a great start to the season.

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The injuries to the starting rotation have caused the Cincinnati Reds issues in their bullpen.

Heading into opening day, Anthony DeSclafani, Rookie Davis, Michael Lorenzen, and Brandon Finnegan are all out with injuries.  Initially those four with Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey and Robert Stephenson were scheduled to battle for five starting rotation spots.  The rest were going to the bullpen.

With Stephenson in Louisville and the other four headed towards the DL, there are holes in both the rotation and the bullpen.  Young starters are filling the rotation, but the bullpen is still short.

Kevin Shackelford and Austin Brice appear to be close to locking down their spots in the bullpen.  They have both had bad outcomes this spring, though.  Stuff can only overcome outcome for so long, but their salary amounts help too..

Next: Reds add Farrell as possible Price replacement

Whichever pitchers the Reds leave camp with, the big question is health.  Stephenson may be a disappointment, but the injuries are even worse.  This is a familiar story for a Reds organization trying to make things better in 2018.