Derek Dietrich has a slim chance to make the Reds Opening Day roster

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 19: Derek Dietrich #35 poses during Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 19: Derek Dietrich #35 poses during Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Derek Dietrich faces an uphill battle to find a spot on the Reds roster.

Derek Dietrich may be back, but the soon-to-be 31-year-old slugger faces an uphill battle to be part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. The Reds announced yesterday that Dietrich was added to the team’s 60-man roster, but a paltry performance down the stretch of the 2019 season plus the absence from summer camp will hurt Dietz’s chances to making the cut.

After a bout with COVID-19, Derek Dietrich returned to the Reds on Wednesday, but he was assigned to the group of players working out at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio. That may signal where David Bell and the coaching staff expect Dietrich to begin the 2020 season. The majority of players expected to be named to the Opening Day roster have been practicing in Cincinnati.

The starting lineup is essentially spoken for. While we may not yet know who’ll be the regulars in the outfield, a combination of Nick Senzel, Shogo Akiyama, Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker will likely split duty in the outfield and one of those four is likely to be the team’s designated hitter.

A look at the starting infield reveals no space for Dietrich. Tucker Barnhart, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suárez, Freddy Galvis and Mike Moustakas will be the everyday regulars across the infield dirt. Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati’s do-everything utility player, is a virtual guarantee to make the team. So is backup catcher Curt Casali. And, don’t forget about Phillip Ervin.

By my count, that’s 12 position players that you can count on to be part of the Reds Opening Day roster. Josh VanMeter’s name can probably be included in that list as well. Unfortunately for Dietrich, he and VanMeter have a similar profile. Both are left-handed power bats who can play multiple defensive positions.

With 13 positions spoken for, how many more do the Reds add to the 30-man roster? You have to figure that Bell will carry at least 15 pitchers; five starters and 10 relievers. That leaves just two spots up for grabs.

Alex Blandino’s slick fielding and terrific spring give the former first-round pick an inside track. Mark Payton is a Rule 5 Draft pick, so in order for him to stay with the organization, he must remain on the active roster throughout the season. There’s also, of course, Aristides Aquino and right-handed slugger Matt Davidson.

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Derek Dietrich may be a fan favorite, but he’s got an uphill battle to make the Opening Day roster. Missing the first part of summer camp definitely hurts his chances as well. However, if the Derek Dietrich that showed up during the first half of last season able to rise up, the Cincinnati Reds will have a fantastic bench bat.