3 players who could grab the final spot on the Reds Opening Day roster?

Milwaukee Brewers infielder Keston Hiura
Milwaukee Brewers infielder Keston Hiura / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster is starting to take shape. It would appear, after optioning Bennett to Triple-A, the bullpen is all but set. However, only 12 healthy position players remain in major league camp.

With Joey Votto and Nick Senzel set to begin the 2023 season on the IL, the Resd have one roster spot remaining. That is, of course, under the assumption that Jason Vosler is added to the Reds Opening Day roster.

There are a myriad of ways that Reds GM Nick Krall could handle this situation, and Cincinnati's top executive is undoubtedly working this phones as we speak. Who are three players that could take the final spot on the Cincinnati Reds roster?

1. Christian Pache could grab the last spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Christian Pache, one of the major acquisitions during last spring's trade between the Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves is said to be available. The A's will reportedly not include Pache on their Opening Day roster, and without any minor league options remaining, the outfielder could be made available in a trade.

Pache had a below-average season during his first year in Oakland, but at just 24 years old, the glove-first centerfielder would offer Cincinnati a ton of upside.

The Reds do not have much of a plan when it comes to center field, though Will Benson has shown flashes this spring. But with Nick Senzel seeing more on the infield dirt, a platoon of Benson of Pache in center field would not be the worst thing for the rebuilding Reds.

Christian Pache has a similar profile as current Reds prospect Michael Siani. Both have Gold Glove potential but struggle at the dish. Seeing as how Siani played fewer than 10 games at Triple-A last season, the former fourth-round pick will need to garner more ABs for the Bats this season before being recalled to The Show.

While Pache is out of minor league options, he's under team control through the 2027 season. This is exactly the type of move that Nick Krall and Cincinnati Reds should make prior to Opening Day. If the Reds don't want to make a trade, they could at least submit a waiver claim.

2. Keston Hiura could grab the last spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

A player that many Reds fans are familiar with is former Milwaukee Brewers infielder Keston Hiura. Just like Christian Pache, Hiura is out of minor league options and will not be part of the Brewers Opening Day roster.

According to Brewers beat writer Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, there was trade interest in Hiura, but a deal was not reached. That would lead one to believe that there's team out there who will be willing to take flier on the infielder by making a waiver claim.

With Joey Votto slated to begin the 2023 season on the IL, Keston Hiura would be a fine addition to the Cincinnati roster, as he can play both first and second base. Hiura hit just .226 last season in Milwaukee, but post an OPS+ of 115. The 26-year-old has consistently struggled to find regular playing time while part of the Brewers organization.

Hiura was a consensus Top 20 prospect prior to 2019 and he showed why with a slash line of .303/.368/.570 in 84 games with Milwaukee during his rookie season. But Hiura was squeezed off the roster by Travis Shaw. The right-handed hitting Hiura then struggled mightily during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, one in which he led the league in strikeouts.

This would be another low-risk/ high-reward type of addition. Keston Hiura does not become a free agent until after the 2025 season and is owed just $2.2-million this season. Will the Reds make a waiver claim in order to solidify the final spot on their Opening Day roster?

3. Stuart Fairchild could grab the last spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

The Cincinnati Reds could always go at it the old fashioned way and just add one of the players who's already on the team's 40-man roster. With Elly De La Cruz suffering an injured hamstring and Noelvi Marte needing more seasoning in the minor leagues, Stuart Fairchild would be the most obvious choice.

The Reds have already reassigned Fairchild to minor league camp, but in no way does that eliminate the possibility of the team including the former second-round pick on the Opening Day roster.

There are five healthy position players on the Reds 40-man roster who've already been optioned back to minor league camp. The aforementioned trio of De La Cruz, Marte, and Fairchild along with Nick Solak and Michael Siani are all part of the 40-man roster. Fairchild would appear to be the most candidate to be recalled.

There is another wrinkle to this, and that would be some of the non-roster players who've been reassigned to minor league camp. That would inclued the likes Matt Reynolds, Alejo Lopez, and Matt McLain.

It would seem like a long-shot for McLain to claim a roster spot, but Reynolds (if healthy) is certainly in the mix and Lopez continues to fight and claw his way into the conversation. The Cincinnati Reds will have a choice to make before Opening Day. Who's it going to be?

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