We're a little less than one week away from Opening Day, and the Cincinnati Reds roster is beginning to take shape. It was recently reported that Tony Santillan would be starting the 2022 season, which seems to open the door for both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo to be part of the starting rotation.
But while fans are bound to be excited about the additions of the two rookie pitchers, there are few players who might be undeservingly included on Cincinnati's Opening Day roster. While service time manipulation is not part of the equation, some hefty contracts or past success might keep a handful of players lingering around longer than they should.
Hanging on to a select few players while others within the organization have performed well during spring training sends a bad message to the rest of the players in the clubhouse. Who are some of the players the Cincinnati Reds should cut prior to Opening Day, but won't?
1. Reds OF Shogo Akiyama should be cut before Opening Day.
It's time to say goodbye to Shogo Akiyama. If the Cincinnati Reds are not going to give the former Japanese star an opportunity to be an everyday contributor to the team, then ownership should just eat the remaining $8M on Akiyama's contract.
Signing Tommy Pham to a one-year/$7.5M contract was basically the final nail in Akiyama's coffin. The Reds starting outfield consists of Pham, Nick Senzel, and Tyler Naquin. Jake Fraley should be the first player off the bench, and even be in the starting lineup when a left-hander is on the bump.
Beyond that, the Reds have the up-and-coming TJ Friedl. The rookie may begin the 2022 season at Triple-A Louisville, but if an injury were to befall any of the starting outfielders, Friedl would undoubtedly get the call.
While we can bemoan the lack of opportunities Shogo Akiyama has received since coming to the Cincinnati Reds, it's painfully clear that his style of play does not translate to today's game. Still, given that Akiyama is owed $8M this season, one could easily see the Reds optioning both Fraley and Friedl to Triple-A and give the 33-year-old one last chance to prove himself.