Cincinnati Reds: Some new faces could emerge vs Kansas City Royals

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Will MLB’s COVID-19 protocols affect the Reds lineup tonight?

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, multiple Cincinnati Reds players may be held out of tonight’s game in Kansas City due to contact tracing. If that happens, a few new faces could emerge when Cincinnati takes the field at Kaufmann Stadium.

Though the Reds have had no more positive cases since Friday evening, the possibility still exists for several players to miss Tuesday’s game. The Cincinnati Reds weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates was postponed and the team hasn’t taken the field since Friday’s victory at Great American Ball Park.

Now, every team throughout Major League Baseball, has an alternate site with 32 other players. With the minor leagues nonexistent in 2020, this option allows teams to pluck players from within the system should a player land on the injured list due to a positive COVID-19 test or injury.

Now, the tricky part of the equation for Cincinnati comes with the wording of the operations manual from Major League Baseball as it relates to the injured list. According to Rosecrans, once a player returns from the injured list due to COVID-19-related reasons, teams must use an option to return players to the alternate site.

We already saw the Reds do this once earlier this season. When Mike Moustakas was placed on the injured list after self-reporting symptoms of COVID-19, rookie catcher Tyler Stephenson took his spot on the 40-man roster. The Reds, in affect, used one of Stephenson’s three options.

So, the question now becomes, if Cincinnati is short-handed on Tuesday night, do they dip into their player pool? If so, who do they recall to the big league roster? This could interesting very quickly.

Obviously, Stephenson would be someone to consider. The Reds already used one of his options and the backstop homered in his first big league at-bat. Aristides Aquino is another name to consider and would be a good bet to occupy a spot if needed.

The Reds have already exposed right-handed pitchers Sal Romano and R.J. Alaniz to waivers in the past, so it’s safe to say that they could be considered despite having no options remaining. Christian Colón went unclaimed after being designated for assignment, so he’s also on the Reds shortlist.

Would Cincinnati look to former first-round pick Nick Lodolo? Former Kansas City Royals pitcher Brandon Finnegan has an option remaining and could be a choice as well. The Reds also have plenty of players on the 40-man roster who could get the call. Ryan Hendrix, Tony Santillan, Alex Blandino and the recently acquired Nick Williams.

Next. CIN at KC preview

Tonight’s Reds team may look completely different than what we’ve seen thus far in 2020. Depending on how you view the Reds success, or lack thereof, the change might be a good thing. We’ll know more closer to game time.