Cincinnati Reds: Who will be demoted when Nick Senzel makes his debut?

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 09: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 09: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
MONTERREY, MEXICO – APRIL 13: Zach Duke, relieve pitcher of the Cincinnati Reds, prepares to pitch on the eight inning of the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey on April 13, 2019 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Zach Duke, Relief pitcher

If I were in charge of the Cincinnati Reds, this is the move I would make. Zach Duke’s 11.25 ERA is almost 6 points higher than any other pitcher on the Cincinnati Reds staff. Duke was brought in for one reason; to get out left-handed hitters. He hasn’t been very good at his job this season.

I don’t want this to turn into an anti-Zach Duke rant, so I’ll steer my focus in a different direction. If the Reds decide to designate Duke for assignment, it saves them from making a corresponding move with the 40-man roster. Let me explain.

In order for the Reds to add Nick Senzel to the 25-man roster, he must also be added to the 40-man roster. That means somebody has to go. A player from the Reds’ 40-man roster must be traded, designated for assignment, released, or put on the 60-day injured list before Senzel is called up.

Unless Alex Wood‘s injury is worse than we feared, no one on the 40-man roster is likely to be put on the 60-day IL. No mention of a potential trade has been reported, so that option is out the window as well. This means if one of the aforementioned players is optioned to Triple-A Louisville, the Reds must release a player from their 40-man roster.

Taking a look at the Cincinnati Reds’ 40-man roster reveals a few names who may susceptible should the team decide to keep Duke on the roster. Players like Jackson Stephens, Jesus Reyes, or Jose Lopez may be victims of losing their spot if a player like Scott Schebler or Phillip Ervin is optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

If Duke were designated for assignment, no team in their right mind is going to pick him up. Duke has given up 11 hits and has 10 earned runs in just 8 innings of work. He’d likely be outrighted to Triple-A Louisville where he could get himself right in the event the Reds would like to recall him later in the season.

The only snag I see is David Bell’s unwavering desire to keep 13 pitchers on the roster and with how the first-year manager has utilized his bullpen this season, he may need all of them. In Tuesday’s extra-inning loss to the New York Mets, despite Luis Castillo going 6.2 innings, Bell still found a way to use 5 of his 8 relievers, plus Michael Lorenzen as a pinch runner.

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Zach Duke is the player on the Cincinnati Reds’ roster who makes the most to lose his spot in favor of the team’s prospect, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Reds chose to go another direction. We’ll find out soon enough, as it’s rumored that Senzel will make his major league debut on Friday when the Reds play host to the San Francisco Giants.