3 Reds who will make the 2024 Opening Day roster but won’t last the season

A lot can happen over a 162-game season.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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There's no telling how many times baseball fans have taken one look at a team's Opening Day roster prior to the club taking the field for the first game of the season and uttered the phrase, "Well, there's no way that guy is making to make it through the season."

Take one look at the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster from a year ago and you'll confirm that thought. Jason Vosler, Kevin Newman, Wil Myers, Luis Cessa, and Joel Kuhnel all began the season in Cincinnati, but didn't finish it wearing the wishbone "C" on their cap.

Whether teams are looking to give one last shot to a player who's out of options, placing a stopgap starter into the rotation until their highly-touted rookie is ready, or just taking a gamble on a journeyman who's had unexpected success in spring training, there are always players who break camp with a team only to fall short of making it to the finish line. Which Reds players will make the Opening Day roster, but not finish the season in Cincinnati?

3 Reds who will make the 2024 Opening Day roster but won’t last the season

Jose Barrero, SS

This is the end of the line for Jose Barrero. A former top prospect in the Reds organization, Barrero is now out options and has somehow survived the roster crunch this offseason. It's rather surprising that Barrero is still on the team at this point. After struggling to begin last season, Barrero was eventually optioned to Triple-A Louisville in June where he spent the rest of the season.

The organization is giving the infielder one last chance to get it right. To Barrero's credit, he was called up too early, has rarely received consistent playing time in the majors, and has been shuffled all over the diamond despite only playing shortstop throughout the majority of his professional career.

But at this point, Barrero's hourglass is nearly empty. Not only will Barrero need a strong spring just to make the Reds Opening Day roster, he'll need to perform well throughout the entire season in order to justify sticking around. There are several talented young infielders nipping at his heels.

Jose Barrero is out of minor-league options, so if the Reds intend to keep the 25-year-old around, he'll have to remain on the active roster throughout the entire season. That seem unlikely. If he breaks camp with the Reds, don't expect him to remain on the roster until the end of the season.

Stuart Fairchild, OF

Stuart Fairchild is in a very similar boat to Jose Barrero. Though not as highly-regarded as a prospect, the outfielder is also out of options and will have to remain on the active roster throughout the entire 2024 campaign in order to stick around.

Fairchild is in for fight this spring. Not only will he be jockeying for a roster spot with Barrero, but there are a couple of non-roster invitees who'll be trying to knock Fairchild off the 40-man roster. Erik Gonzalez, Josh Harrison, Conner Capel, and even outfield prospect Blake Dunn will be looking to secure a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Fairchild will have a chance during spring training, and may be in the best spot to secure that final spot on the Reds roster. After being waived by the San Francisco Giants in 2022, Fairchild has remained with the organization that originally drafted him back in 2017. But with other talented players coming up through the Cincinnati farm system, Fairchild's ability to stick over the entire season is in jeopardy.

Fairchild's speed will work in his favor, but the Reds added that element in the form of another player after recently picking up Bubba Thompson off waivers from the Minnesota Twins. Cincinnati also has Nick Martini, Rece Hinds, and Jacob Hurtubise on the 40-man roster as well, and each of them have minor-league options remaining.

Stuart Fairchild is a fine fit, and could work his way onto the Opening Day roster, but unless he turns into an absolute masher against left-handed pitching, you have to squint pretty hard to seem him remaining in the Reds clubhouse by the time September rolls around.

Ian Gibaut, RHP

This will be one of more interesting names to watch, not so much in spring training, but throughout the entire 2024 season. Ian Gibaut is virtually a lock to be on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. His roster status as the season moves along, however, could become highly questionable.

In 2023, Gibaut outperformed what anyone throughout the entire Reds fanbase could have expected. A waiver wire claim in 2022, Gibaut led the team in appearances last season and put up solid numbers. Gibaut, along with Buck Farmer, was an ironman last season.

The question now becomes whether or not Gibaut can duplicate that performance in 2024. If Gibaut is used in the same manner he was a year ago, then it's likely game over for the hard-throwing right-hander. Gibaut played about as good as he's capable in 2023 and was used in several high-leverage situations.

The lights will be brighter in 2024 and the expectations are higher. Reds manager David Bell cannot afford to hand the ball to Gibaut, with the lead, after the seventh inning. That's what Alexis Diaz, Sam Moll, and Lucas Sims are for.

Cincinnati also has some talented young arms down on the farm that they'd love to see up in the big leagues in 2024. Lyon Richardson, Carson Spiers, Casey Legumina, and Christian Roa will all be looking to make a statement and grab a spot on the Reds pitching staff. Ian Giabut is out of options, and if he's unable to maintain that high-level he played at in 2023, it'll be hard for him to last the entire season.