2 Reds relievers who have earned their roster spot, 1 still fighting for his

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ian Gibaut
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ian Gibaut / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Reds reliever Joel Kuhnel still has work to do.

Let's try to take an objective look at how the Cincinnati Reds bullpen stacks up as it stands right now. Alexis Diaz, Buck Farmer, and Reiver Sanmartin are locks to head north once spring training ends later this week. Fernando Cruz seems like a good bet to be included as well.

Throw in the aforementioned Ian Gibaut and Alex Young, and you're now looking at 75-percent of your relief corps to start the season. With Lucas Sims out of action due to back spasm, it's questionable as to whether or not he'll begin the season on the active roster.

If Sims starts 2023 on the IL, that leaves two open spots in the Reds bullpen. Tejay Antone, Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, Justin Dunn, and maybe even Luke Weaver will begin the upcoming season on the Injured List as well.

Is Luis Cessa a starter or a reliever? How about Connor Overton? Those are two questions that must be answered, and if both right-hander's wind up in the bullpen, then things are going to get tough for pitchers like Joel Kuhnel/

The 28-year-old held onto his 40-man roster spot throughout the offseason, so there's obvioulsy something Cincinnati likes about the hard-throwing right-hander. While Kuhnel had an ERA of 6.36, his xERA was 3.78 and his xFIP was 3.52 according to FanGraphs.

Joel Kuhnel is a fringe-candidate to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster and has seven strikeouts in eight Cactus League games. His 52.2-percent ground ball-rate in 2022 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when pitching at Great American Ball Park, but one or two more solid showings this spring may be necessary in order to secure his roster spot.

Next. Reds roster bubble: Last 4 in, First 4 out. dark