Out of minor league options (7)
Curt Casali, Robert Stephenson, Christian Colón, Matt Wisler, Mason Willams, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Anthony Bass
These seven players are out of minor league options and cannot be sent down to the minor leagues without first being exposed to outright waivers. A few of these player would surely be picked up if the Cincinnati Reds tried to sneak them through waivers, but others might skate through without issue.
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Curt Casali, if healthy, is going nowhere. The Reds and Casali agreed on a one-year $950K contract earlier in the offseason and he’ll be Tucker Barnhart’s primary backup once the season begins. His .375 batting average against lefties will most certainly be of value for the Reds this coming season.
Odrisamer Despaigne and Anthony Bass have virtually no shot to make the roster, and though they’re out of options, odds are that both of them will make it through the waiver process and land on their feet in Triple-A Louisville.
The same could probably be said for Christian Colón, but the skilled second baseman has had a very nice spring and a team in need of a backup infielder may take more than one look should Colón not make the Reds Opening Day roster.
Mason Willams, who filled in admirably last season when the Cincinnati Reds outfield was decimated by injury, is unlikely to make the final cut this spring. The competition is too tough and in all likelihood, Williams will end up back with the Louisville Bats. However, Willams could easily make it to the big leagues at some point during the 2019 season.
That brings us to Matt Wisler and Robert Stephenson. Wisler is more of an enigma to Reds fans, as he just joined the club last year as part of the trade that sent Adam Duvall to the Atlanta Braves. Wisler has had a decent spring, tossing three innings of work, striking out five batters and not allowing a home run.
Stephenson is the most notable name on this list. The former first round pick has never figured it out. He shows great potential in the minors, but it all falls apart when he toes the rubber in a major league game. Stephenson has been battling shoulder inflammation all spring and has yet to make an appearance on the mound.
Will the Cincinnati Reds finally let Bob Steve go? Will Wisler claim the final spot in the bullpen? Is Phillip Ervin bound to start the season in Triple-A? All are great questions and ones we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to find the answers to.