We already saw the Cincinnati Reds make a move to accommodate newly signed outfielder Tommy Pham when the team placed right-hander Tejay Antone on the 60-day Injured List. With a couple non-roster invitees likely to make the cut, a few more moves may be necessary.
Buck Farmer, Brandon Drury, and either Aramís García or Andrew Knapp will likely be added to the Reds 40-man roster. Nick Lodolo may be added as well, though that may come a few days after the start of the regular season.
But, if the Reds make additions to the 40-man roster, the team must also make a corresponding move. While placing Justin Dunn on the 60-day IL is a possibility, that won't be enough. A few more players may lose their spot on the 40-man roster prior to Opening Day. Who are the three most likely candidates?
1. Reds OF Shogo Akiyama is in danger of losing his roster spot.
Whether or not Shogo Akiyama is on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster is going to come down to a myriad of factors. Will Akiyama accept a minor league assignment? Will the Reds carry 14 pitchers or 15 pitchers? Will Cincinnati eat Akiyama's $8M salary? How the club and Akiyama answer those questions will determine whether or not the outfielder is on the roster.
The Reds have the ability to option Akiyama to the minors, but he also has a clause in his contract that allows him to refuse the assignment and elect free agency instead. It seems logical that if the Reds optioned Akiyama to Triple-A, he'd decide instead to sign with another club. In doing so, the Reds would have to pay his $8M salary.
Do the Reds carry 14 pitchers and 14 position players on their Opening Day roster or 15 pitchers and 13 position players? With the off day on Monday 11th and a four-man rotation to begin the season, plus no limit on the number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues prior to May 2nd, the smart money is on Cincinnati carrying 14 pitchers. That may bode well for Akiyama.
The final question is the big one; will the Cincinnati Reds pay Shogo Akiyama $8M to not play for them? Yikes, that's a lot of cash, and less than what Jesse Winker will take home this season. Ouch, too soon?!
Anyway, if the Reds are going to treat Akiyama like a fifth outfielder anyway, they're already wasting that money. The starting outfield is comprised of Tommy Pham, Nick Senzel, and Tyler Naquin with Jake Fraley acting as the first outfielder off the bench. I'd argue that TJ Friedl would give the Reds a better chance to win than Akiyama, and so the two sides should just go their separate ways.