3 Reds players most in danger of losing their 40-man roster spot

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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A spot on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster is going to be hard to come by in 2023. The club added players like Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, but neither is expected to be part of the Reds Opening Day roster.

The Reds also have non-roster invitees like Chad Pinder, Jason Vosler, and Matt McLain who will be looking to secure a spot on the 40-man roster. This will surely put a few players currently on the 40-man roster at risk.

Two spots will surely open up with Tejay Antone and Vladimir Gutierrez both likely to be placed on the 60-day IL to begin the season, but that may not be enough. Some difficult decisions could be on the horizon. Which three Reds players are most at risk of losing their 40-man roster spot?

1. Reds pitcher Casey Legumina is in danger of losing his 40-man roster spot.

Who? Several Reds fans may not have even heard of Casey Legumina. The right-hander was acquired from the Minnesota Twins earlier this offseason after Cincinnati shipped former shortstop Kyle Farmer to Minneapolis.

Legumina has yet to make his major league debut, at almost 26 years old, the former eighth-round pick may not be part of the Cincinnati Reds organization for very long. Legumina pitched in both High-A and Double-A last season, but his numbers were rather pedestrian.

The right-hander served as a starter during the early-part of the 2022 season, but wound up as a reliever before the season ended. Legumina went 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA and 92 punch outs over 86.1 innings of work.

Once he switched to the bullpen, Casey Legumina pitched rather well. He struck out 26 batters over 17.2 innings and posted an ERA of just 2.55 along with a walk-rate of just 7.9%. But if he wants to stay on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster, Legumina is going to have to bring that same level of production to Goodyear this spring.

2. Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild is in danger of losing his 40-man roster spot.

After seeing the Cincinnati Reds add another outfielder to the 40-man roster last week, Stuart Fairchild's seat might be getting a little bit warm. While several Reds fans loved what they saw from Fairchild last season, it's questionable as to whether or not the Cincinnati front office feels the same way.

After all, Fairchild was part of the Reds organization previously but was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2020. Fairchild was plucked off waivers last summer and slashed .279/.374/.523 with a wRC+ of 146 according to FanGraphs.

But, of all the outfielders on the Reds 40-man roster, most would have to agree that Fairchild is in the most precarious spot. Wil Myers is the team's likely Opening Day starter in right field, TJ Friedl and Jake Fraley are sure to be part of the 26-man squad that breaks camp, and Michael Siani was just added to the 40-man roster last season.

It's likely to be a three-horse race between Fairchild, the recently acquired Nick Solak, and former first-round pick Nick Senzel. Both Solak and Senzel have defensive versatility, while Fairchild is strictly an outfielder.

The Reds do maintain a minor league option with regards to Stuart Fairchild, so even if the 26-year-old doesn't break camp with the big league squad, he can be sent down to Triple-A Louisville to begin the 2023 season. One would think Fairchild showed enough last season to remain with the team, but the same could have been said for Alejo Lopez.

3. Reds pitcher Ian Gibaut is in danger of losing his 40-man roster spot.

The Cincinnati Reds claimed Ian Gibaut off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers shortly after the Fourth of July holiday last year. The right-hander had previously pitched for the Cleveland Guardians in 2022.

Gibaut has bounced around to a number of different organizations throughout his professional career. Once part of the Tampa Bay Rays, Gibaut has also played for the Texas Rangers and Minnestota Twins.

Gibaut's addition to the Reds bullpen last season was relatively well received. The right-hander posted a very nice strikeout-rate of 30.0%, but his walk-rate (11.3%) was little higher than most GMs would like. Gibaut also allowed opposing hitters to touch him up to the tune of a .277 batting average against.

Ian Gibaut is power pitcher who's FIP (3.11) suggests that he was a bit unlucky in 2022 as his ERA was 4.50. However, seeing as how he has no minor league options remaining, if the Reds favor another reliever over Gibaut, the 29-year-old would have to be designated for assignment and pass through waivers in order to remain in the organization.

None of the aforementioned players should be fretting at the moment - spring training hasn't even begun. But, if some of the team's top prospects or non-roster invitees begin Cactus League play on a tear, these three players may be the first to lose their spot on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster.

Next. 5 position battles to watch during Reds spring training. dark