Cincinnati Reds: Predicting the bullpen after addition of Sean Doolittle

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Sal Romano #47 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 18: Sal Romano #47 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The final two spots in the Reds bullpen are up for grabs.

Looking at the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, and assuming Sean Doolittle, Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, Noé Ramirez, José De León, and Tejay Antone are locks to make the Opening Day roster, there are still two spots remaining. These final two selections may come down to one thing; who has minor league options and who doesn’t?

Nick Krall has been searching all winter for relief pitchers with minor league options remaining; something that gives the Reds General Manager roster flexibility. There’s going to be a handful of players that will get very familiar with the drive up I-71 from Louisville to Cincinnati.

So who, among those on the 40-man roster in competition for the finals two spots in the Reds bullpen, have minor league options remaining? Art Warren, Riley O’Brien, Brandon Bailey, Cionel Pérez, Hector Perez, and Ryan Hendrix all have minor league options remaining.

Now, it’s not to say the aforementioned six players will not get chance to make the team or compete for spot, but the ability to option those players to the minor leagues is something that Krall and front office will certainly consider if it means keeping a similar pitcher, who’s out of options, on the roster.

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That leads me to believe, unless one of those six players really wows the coaching staff or a veteran signed to a minor-league deal impresses during spring training, that Sal Romano and Jeff Hoffman will occupy the final two spots in the Reds bullpen. Will they remain there all season? That remains to be seen, but the Reds have a penchant for squeezing every last drop out of players in their situation.