The Cincinnati Reds have, perhaps, their best team in five years. With that comes an abundance of potential roster moves. Which players still have minor league options?
The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of players who can make an impact on this year’s team. That’s a good problem to have, but it comes with some challenges as well. One of those challenges is how to best manage a player’s minor league options. The Reds have been very strategic with this over the years, but a few players are now out of options.
Players on the 40-man roster are given three options. When a player is sent down to the minor leagues for more than 20 days, he loses an option. Upon being optioned to the minor leagues, a player must remain there for at least 10 days.
An option applies to an entire season, meaning that a player can be sent down and recalled any number of times over the course of a season while only losing one option. If a player has more than five years of service at the major league level, he must consent to being optioned.
One trick a lot of major league clubs use to preserve a player’s options is to carry them on the 25-man roster early in the season, because once a player is out of options, he can no longer be outright to a minor league affiliate. This means the player must clear waivers before being sent down.
So many of the Reds roster spots are spoken for, but the idea of maintaining control of a player rather than losing them for nothing will, no doubt, be an overriding factor when it comes to making those difficult decisions about the last two to three spots on the Opening Day roster.
With the help of Roster Resource, let’s dive into a few of the players on the Cincinnati Reds roster that are out of options and also those who have an option or two remaining. A few names on the list might surprise you.
Two minor league options remaining (9)
Jesse Winker, Matt Bowman, Wandy Peralta, Jesus Reyes, Tyler Mahle, José Siri, Tucker Barnhart, Luis Castillo, and Anthony DeSclafani
First, let’s eliminate a few players who are unlikely to be optioned this season. We can check off Tucker Barnhart, and most likely Jesse Winker from this list. Both are projected to be starters and even though Barnhart’s name circulated in trade rumors this offseason, he and Winker are likely in the Reds long-term plans.
Matt Bowman and Jesus Reyes will almost assuredly be sent down to Triple-A Louisville at the conclusion of Spring Training. Reyes had a cup of coffee with the club last year, but with the Reds have so much depth in the pitching this coming season, it’s hard to see either he or Bowman being anything more than an injury replacement for a couple games in 2019.
Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani make the list, but both are plugged in as starters to begin the 2019 season. Unless Castillo or Disco really struggle out of the gate, it’s hard to see either one sent down to Louisville.
The three most interesting players on this list are Tyler Mahle, José Siri, and Wandy Peralta. Mahle and Siri seem to fit into the Reds future plans. With Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Tanner Roark, and Alex Wood in walk years, there will be two openings in both the outfield and starting rotation heading into 2020. Both Mahle and Siri might be best served to spend the 2019 utilizing their options and perfecting their craft in Triple-A.
Peralta is a different story. The lefty has shown flashes of his 2017 self during Spring Training and is very much in the mix for the final spot in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. Because he has two options remaining, it’s hard to see the Reds putting him on the Opening Day roster, but he most definitely has a shot.