3 non-roster invitees who will make Reds Opening Day roster and 2 who will come up just short

Cincinnati Reds infielder Jason Vosler
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jason Vosler / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds have invited several players to Goodyear, Arizona on minor-league deals. Every year, there's a handful of non-roster invitees who make an impression during spring training and wiggle their way onto the Reds Opening Day roster.

This season will be no exception. With Nick Senzel and Joey Votto coming off injuries in 2022 and a few pitchers already set to begin the 2023 on the Injured List, there will be a few roster spots up for grabs once Cactus League games begin.

But not every non-roster invitee will make the cut. Which three NRI's will make the Reds Opening Day roster and which two will fall just short of landing a spot on the 26-man squad set to break camp at the end of March?

Reds non-roster invitee Chase Anderson will be on the Reds Opening Day roster.

The competition for a spot in the Cincnnati Reds starting rotation is sure to be fierce this spring. Every Reds fan knows that, if healthy, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft will be part of the rotation. But what about the other two spots?

That's where Chase Anderson comes in. Anderson was signed late last season after spending time with the Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A affiliate. The right-hander had some ups and downs once he was called up to the Reds and was just recently re-signed to a minor-league contract.

Anderson has experience with Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson from their time together in Milwaukee, so that will definitely work to his advantage. Anderson also the versatility to come out of the bullpen as well.

Luis Cessa, Connor Overton, and Luke Weaver will all be looking to land a spot in the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day starting rotation as well. Whether he winds up as a starter or a reliever, look for Chase Anderson to emerge from Goodyear on the Reds 26-man roster.

Reds non-roster invitee Chad Pinder will be on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Chad Pinder had a nice career with the Oakland Athletics. A former second-round pick of the A's back in 2013, Pinder possesses the type of versatility that David Bell and the Cincinnati Reds coaching staff absolutely love.

Last season, Pinder saw time at every infield spot outside of catcher and played both corner outfield spots. With defensive versatility becoming more and more important in today's game, Pinder could easily sneak onto the Reds 26-man roster.

The most logical scenario would be as a platoon left fielder alongside Jake Fraley. Pinder's career splits against left-handed pitchers are over 100 points higher than when a right-handed hurler is on the bump. Fraley crushed right-handed pitchers last season, but failed miserably against lefties.

Pinder's biggest competition this spring will probably come from a pair of right-handed hitting outfielders. Nick Solak and Will Benson, both of whom the Reds acquired in trades this offseason, will be looking to cement their place in the Cincinnati lineup as well.

Ever since Chad Pinder signed a minor league contract with the Redlegs earlier this offseason, it felt like a forgone conclusion that the 31-year-old would break camp with the team. While his career on-base percentage of .294 is not good at all, look for Bell and crew to go with the veteran on Opening Day.

Reds non-roster invitee Jason Vosler will be on the Reds Opening Day roster.

This is the type of minor league deal that could really pay off, and it's eerily similar to how the Cincinnati Reds brought along Brandon Drury last season. Jason Vosler may be a highly underrated hitter in the league and he could thrive in Great American Ball Park.

One major difference between Vosler and Drury is service time. Drury was set to be a free agent after last season and turned a terrific 2022 campaign into a multi-million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Vosler, however, is under team control through the 2028 season. Of course, in order to keep the Northeastern alum as part of the organization beyond this spring, Vosler must be added to the team's 40-man roster. Moreover, once that occurs, Vosler also has a minor league option remaining.

With so much uncertainty surrounding Joey Votto, adding Jason Vosler to the Cincinnati Reds Opening day roster seems like a no-brainer. Vosler has experience at both first and third base and can ever play the outfield in a pinch.

More than any other non-roster invitee in camp, Jason Vosler feels like a shoo-in to join the 26-man roster so long as he remains healthy and produces at a decent clip during Cactus League play. He only appeared in 36 games for the Giants in 2022, but Vosler posted an .812 OPS.

Reds non-roster invitee Hunter Strickland will not be on the Reds Opening Day roster.

There were a lot of Reds fans that laughed or rolled their eyes at the idea of bringing back Hunter Strickland this spring. But before you get too worked up about the reliever rejoining the Cincinnati Reds, let's remember that it's only a minor-league deal.

Last season, the Reds brought in Strickland to be the team's closer. That was a mistake and Strickland struggled mightily. It wasn't until the dog days of summer that Reds manager David Bell finally relented and allowed Alexis Diaz to take over as the team's permanent closer.

This spring, Strickland is not being handed a job. In fact, he'll have to outwork a lot of other pitchers in order to find his way back onto the 26-man roster. He does have this working in favor - the Reds will be without Tejay Antone and Vladimir Gutierrez to begin the 2023 season.

There's also the possibility that Tony Santillan may miss some time early-on as well. That's potentially three spots in the Cincinnati bullpen that could be up for grabs. But with Cincinnati looking to add another left-hander to the relief corps, that will already count against Strickland.

Hunter Strickland did provide a veteran presence last season, and for all the injuries that Cincinnati incurred in 2022, the right-hander was not one of them. Strickland will have to see some things break his way in order to break camp with the Cincinnati Reds. In the end, look for Strickland to come up just short.

Reds non-roster invitee Alejo Lopez will not be on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Some other non-roster invitees to watch this spring will be Chuckie Robinson and Austin Romine. But the only way that one of those two make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster is if Tyler Stephenson, Curt Casali, or Luke Maile begin the year on the IL.

Otherwise, look for Alejo Lopez to be in the hunt for a roster spot until the bitter end of spring training. Lopez did enough last season to spend almost the entire offseason on the Reds 40-man roster.

It wasn't until the Reds swung a trade for outfielder Will Benson that Lopez was finally designated for assignment. The infielder cleared waivers and was re-signed to a minor league deal and then outrighted to the Louisville Bats.

Lopez has always been overlooked during his time in the Cincinnati Res organization. Lopez is a contact hitter and will never hit for power. While some fans love Lopez's grit and hustle, clubs are looking at exit velocity and launch angle.

Alejo Lopez is never going to be a 20-plus home run hitter, but the versatile infielder does have gap-to-gap power and is a switch-hitter. Lopez will give it everything he has because that's the only way he knows how to play. In the end, however, it likely will not be enough to become part of the Reds Opening Day roster.

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