Projecting the Cincinnati Reds 2022 Opening Day roster 2.0

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) recognizes the crowd after exiting a spring training practice.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) recognizes the crowd after exiting a spring training practice. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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After a flurry of trades and free agent signings over the past week, our 2022 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster predictions are going to look a lot different this go-around. The Reds said goodbye to some regulars from last year's roster and Nick Castellanos finalized a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, effectively ending any hope Reds Country had of last year's All-Star returning.

Speaking of All-Stars, Eugenio Suárez, Jesse Winker, and Sonny Gray will not be part of the 2022 Reds Opening Day roster. Gray was dealt to the Minnesota Twins, Geno and Winker are now part of the Seattle Mariners organization, and left-handed reliever is now in Kansas City.

What will the 2022 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster look like?

The rebuild has all but begun. While Reds GM Nick Krall might disagree with that assertion, the writing is on the wall. The Reds front office attached All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker to Eugenio Suárez's contract in order to shed Geno's $35M payday.

In an odd turn of events, Cincinnati dealt Amir Garrett to the Kansas City Royals. Moving on from AG wasn't the issue. The problem is that, in return, the Redlegs received left-handed starter Mike Minor and his $10M salary. While the Royals chipped in $500K to cover half of Minor's $1M buyout for the 2023 season, Reds fans are wondering why Wade Miley (who was owed $10M in 2022) was let go.

The Reds did make some additions during the week as well, signing Donovan Solano to a one-year/$4.5M deal, inking Colin Moran to a one-year contract worth $1M, and agreeing to terms on a minor league contract with right-hander Buck Farmer.

The Cincinnati Reds roster still feels incomplete, and rumors of a possible reunion with former pitcher Johnny Cueto only complicate matters. But, as things stand right now, let's try to make sense of it and project what the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster will look like.

Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India (6) throws during relay drills.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India (6) throws during relay drills. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Cincinnati Reds starting lineup (9)

Joey Votto (1B), Jonathan India (2B), Kyle Farmer (SS), Mike Moustakas (3B), Tyler Naquin (RF), Nick Senzel (CF), Shogo Akiyama (LF), Tyler Stephenson (C), Donovan Solano (DH)

Where to begin? Well, let's start with those things that are unchanged. Joey Votto, Jonathan India, Kyle Farmer, Tyler Stephenson, Nick Senzel, and Tyler Naquin are still part of the projected starting lineup on Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds.

Of those aforementioned players, only Naquin would appear to be a trade candidate prior to the 2022 season. The left-handed hitting slugger has just one year of team control remaining, but at a projected $3.6M salary in 2022, I think the Reds will keep the former Cleveland outfielder in the fold...for now.

Let's move on to the newcomers, shall we? Mike Moustakas is not new to the roster prediction, but it's safe to say that Moose has moved from the team's primary designated hitter to the Reds primary third baseman after the Reds traded Eugenio Suárez to the Seattle Mariners.

That said, you can easily see a scenario where Moustakas flips spots with the recently signed Donovan Solano. The former San Francisco Giants infielder will add a nice bat to the Cincinnati Reds lineup, especially versus left-handed pitching.

Finally, for now, let's slot Shogo Akiyama in left field. Replacing Jesse Winker will be no easy task, and is certainly out of reach for the light-hitting Akiyama. But, the former Japanese will provide far better defense than Winker ever did in left field. The Reds are still waiting for Akiyama to live up to that three-year/$21M contract he signed prior to the 2020 season.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) listens to Cincinnati Reds bench coach.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) listens to Cincinnati Reds bench coach. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Cincinnati Reds starting rotation (5)

Luis Castillo (RHP), Tyler Mahle (RHP), Mike Minor (LHP), Vladimir Gutierrez (RHP), Hunter Greene (RHP)

Last week, we saw Sonny Gray traded to the Minnesota Twins. While Nick Krall tells Reds Country that the front office has no intention of trading Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle prior to the 2022 season, it's hard for the Cincinnati fanbase to trust anything that comes out of the mouth of the team's general manager. For now, we have no choice, and we'll keep Castillo and Mahle in the mix.

Vladimir Gutierrez feels like the safest bet among the returning the starters. While the right-hander appeared to run out of gas down the stretch last season, the Cincinnati coaching staff are hopeful that Gutierrez's increases his stamina heading into the season and eclipses double-digit wins in 2022; something he fell one shy of in 2021.

Mike Minor is the newest addition to the Cincinnati rotation. While curious in nature, the trade did bring an established left-hander on a modest contract to the Queen City. Hmm, seems like the Reds already had one of those (Wade Miley), didn't they? Regardless, I think the addition of Minor is a solid piece and it will help the youngsters in the rotation to have a veteran presence.

Now, I've been hesitant to add any of the Reds young pitching prospects to the roster predictions thus far, but I'm thinking it's time to give Hunter Greene the benefit of the doubt. Cincinnati could always choose to start the right-hander at Triple-A, but if they want to put butts in the seats, adding Greene to the Opening Day roster will help do that.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jake Fraley (27) hits a base hit during a spring training game.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jake Fraley (27) hits a base hit during a spring training game. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Cincinnati Reds bench (4)

Aramís García (C), Jake Fraley (OF), Max Schrock (IF), Aristides Aquino (OF)

Somebody is going to be Tyler Stephenson's backup in 2022, and following his two-home runs performance on Saturday night, you have to assume that Aramís García is the leader in the clubhouse. Andrew Knapp and Mark Kolozsvary are in the running as well.

Jose Barrero has proven all that he can in the minor leagues, and while Kyle Farmer may be the starting shortstop for now, by season's end the job should belong to Barrero. However, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic is reporting that Barrero will miss the next six weeks with a hand injury, so until he's healthy let's give the roster spot to Max Schrock. Colin Moran is in the mix as well.

The battle for the fourth and fifth outfielder spots will be fun to watch. TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, and Aristides Aquino will be the three who are competing for two spots. You could make the argument as well that Shogo Akiyama is in that mix as well.

Except for Aquino, the others are all left-handed bats. Given how poorly the Reds roster sets up versus lefties, I have to assume that The Punisher makes the cut. Both Fraley and Friedl have minor league options remaining and the duo have similar profiles. I'm going to give the edge to Fraley for now, but keep your eye on Friedl during the upcoming Cactus League games.

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Luis Cessa (85) celebrates after pitching a scoreless inning.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Luis Cessa (85) celebrates after pitching a scoreless inning. / Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services,

Cincinnati Reds bullpen (8)

Tony Santillan (RHP), Luis Cessa (RHP), Justin Wilson (LHP), Jeff Hoffman (RHP), Art Warren (RHP), Reiver Sanmartin (LHP), Joel Kuhnel (RHP), Kyle Zimmer (RHP)

With Lucas Sims likely to miss the first little bit of the 2022 season due to some injuries he endured during the offseason, at least one spot in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen will be up for grabs. Amir Garrett was traded to the Kansas City Royals as well, meaning there's an additional spot one of the young hurlers could take aim at.

Jeff Hoffman, Luis Cessa, Justin Wilson, and Art Warren feel about as close to locks for the Opening Day roster as they come. Neither Hoffman nor Cessa have any minor league options remaining, so if the Reds want to keep them in the organization, they'll be part of the bullpen. Wilson will be the most experienced southpaw in the bullpen, and Warren excelled after returning from injury in 2021.

Tony Santillan and Reiver Sanmartin have both been mentioned as possible starters. But, given the addition of Mike Minor to the rotation and the subtraction of AG from the relief corps, I'm thinking we'll see the Sanmartin take on a role in Cincinnati's bullpen. Santillan thrived as a reliever in 2021, and with the depth of starting pitching, the right-hander would be better utilized out of the bullpen.

Those last two spots are anybody's guess, and likely to go to a pair of hurlers that are currently not on the 40-man roster, but have minor league options remaining. In the early going, every team is going to avoid overworking their bullpen. For now, I'm going to go with former first-round pick Kyle Zimmer and the flamethrower Joel Kuhnel.

Next. Projecting the 2022 Reds Opening Day roster 1.0. dark

So there you have it, Reds Country. That's certainly a far cry from the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day predictions we published last week. Let's hope that the upcoming week isn't as devastating to the Cincinnati faithful as this past week was. Yikes!