3 Reds players whose 40-man roster spot is in jeopardy once Andrew Abbott is added

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Andrew Abbott
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Andrew Abbott / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
1 of 3

Andrew Abbott was added to the Cincinnati Reds taxi squad on Sunday morning, and the left-hander will get his first major league start on Monday night against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The addition of Abbott is not a sign that Graham Ashcraft's struggles have landed him back in the minors, but rather it's due to a minor hip injury that Hunter Greene is dealing with. Rather than place Greene on the IL, the hope is that pushing his next start back will afford the flamethrower time to recuperate.

But, since Abbott isn't on the 40-man roster, somebody's got to go. The Reds placed Nick Lodolo the 60-day IL just last week, that option is off the table. Which three Reds player's are in jeopardy of losing their roster spot to the Reds newcomer?

1. Reds RHP Alan Busenitz could lose his 40-man roster spot to Andrew Abbott.

This seems like the most likely scenario, doesn't it? While designating Alan Busenitz for assignment doesn't create a spot on the active roster, it does allow Andrew Abbott to join the 40-man roster. The Cincinnati Reds could then choose to option a reliever like Kevin Herget or Eduardo Salazar.

Busenitz's contract was selected a couple weeks back when the Reds were going through relievers like they were going out of style. At the time, the Reds rotation was barely able to give David Bell four innings each night, and the Cincinnati bullpen was utterly exhausted.

Busentiz is currently down at Triple-A. In his four appearances in the big leagues, the 32-year-old owns a 4.50 ERA and has three strikeouts to just one walk. Busenitz has been part of the Reds 40-man roster since mid-May, but his time may be coming to an end.

If the Cincinnati Reds choose to DFA Alan Busenitz, he could always be reassigned to Triple-A Louisville if the right-hander clears waivers. With pitchers like Tony Santillan and Tejay Antone nearing a return, Busenitz's long-term future looked anything but secure.

2. Reds RHP Derek Law could lose his 40-man roster spot to Andrew Abbott.

The Cincinnati Reds have this option if Derek Law's elbow injury is worse than originally thought. Initially diagnosed with an elbow sprain, Law is currently on the 15-day IL and has been there since mid-May.

If Law's injury is thought to keep him out for another six weeks or so, the Reds could opt to move the right-hander from the 15-day to the 60-day IL. But this should only be done if the timetable for his return matches the 60-day window.

After landing on the 15-day IL back on May 17th, moving the veteran reliever to the 60-day IL would be a sign that Cincinnati does not expect Law to be back and fully healthy until after the All-Star break. That would be a big blow to a Reds relief corps that's missing, arguably, its best pitcher.

Law has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Redlegs in 2023. The right-hander has started a handful of games as the team's opener while also coming up clutch when it matters most late in games. David Bell relied on Law a lot earlier this season, which may have led to his current injury.

There's been no real update of late, and the intial diagnosis obvioiusly didn't warrant placement on the 60-day IL, However, one never quite knows how these injuries will play out, esspecially when you're talking about shoulder and elbow issues involving a pitcher.

3. Reds RHP Joel Kuhnel could lose his 40-man roster spot to Andrew Abbott.

Alan Busenitz hasn't done himself any favors, but fellow right-handed pitcher Joel Kuhnel could be in the same boat. Kuhnel's youth might be the only thing on his side when it comes time to make decision on Monday, because his performance this season has not been very good.

Kuhnel actually broke camp with the big leagues club, but one appearance was all the hard-throwing right-hander received before being optioned to Triple-A. Kuhnel has not been recalled, and was passed over when the Reds selected the likes of Busenitz, Eduardo Salazar, and Silvino Brancho.

But Cincinnati did designate Brancho for assignment despite a solid showing during his time in the bigs, so at least Kuhnel has that going for him. The Reds have had multiple opportunities to DFA Kuhnel, but the 28-year-old would seem to have more lives than a cat.

Monday could be the end of the line for Kuhnel, however, as he has the same number of punch outs (11) in Triple-A this season as he does free passes. According To FanGraphs, Joel Kuhnel has a 8.02 ERA in the minors, but his xFIP is 5.88. Neither of those numbers are very good.

As was mentioned earlier with Alan Busnitz, DFA'ing Kuhnel would only clear a 40-man spot for Andrew Abbott. The Cincinnati Reds would have to still option a player from the 26-man roster, but pitchers like Kevin Herget and even Fernando Cruz could fall victim to that fate in order to make room on the active roster.

Reds all-time best starting lineup based on WAR. dark. Next. Reds best lineup (WAR)