3 Reds players who could be traded to clear roster spots for Rule 5 eligible prospects

The Reds will need to add several prospects to the roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.

Cincinnati Reds infielders Nick Senzel and Jose Barrero
Cincinnati Reds infielders Nick Senzel and Jose Barrero / Denis Poroy/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster currently stands at 37. But those three vacancies may not be enough.

With teams required to protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft before 6 PM ET on Tuesday, the Reds may have some shuffling to do in order to add some of their valuable assets to the 40-man roster.

According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, trade talks are picking up across the league as clubs are trying to clear space or trade prospects they have no intention of protecting. Are there a few players on the Reds 40-man roster who could be dealt before 6 PM ET today?

1. The Reds could trade TJ Hopkins to clear roster space

Rather than lose him for nothing at the non-tender deadline, perhaps the Cincinnati Reds will look to trade TJ Hopkins today in order to clear space on the 40-man roster. Hopkins had a cup of coffee with the Reds in 2023, but spent most of the season at Triple-A.

There's a lot to like about Hopkins' style of play. His a right-handed bat with some pop, has above-average speed, and can play all over the outfield. Hopkins is the quintessential Quadruple-A player. Too good to stay in the minors, but not good enough to be a major leaguer.

While some may see that as a bit too harsh, as Hopkins only has 41 big league at-bats, it's quite apparent that the Reds don't see the 26-year-old as a fixture in the future.

Cincinnati had the opportunity to add Hopkins to the 40-man roster last winter and did not do it. However, no other team added the outfielder during the 2022 Rule 5 Draft.

TJ Hopkins is one of those fringe roster players that rebuilding clubs could take a flier on, and if he's not traded before 6 PM ET today, don't be shocked if he's non-tendered later this offseason.

2. The Reds could trade Jose Barrero to clear roster space

This is an interesting name to watch today. Since he's still pre-arbitration eligible, Jose Barrero is unlikely to be non-tendered later this week, but he could be traded later today in order to free up a 40-man roster spot.

Barrero, much like the aforementioned TJ Hopkins, falls into that Quadruple-A category. But unlike Hopkins, Barrero has received several chances in the league and just can't seem to figure things out at the dish.

Barrero, though, has seen sporadic playing time in the big leagues and was never given consistent playing time to showcase his abilities outside of about a six-week stretch during the dog days of summer in 2022.

Strikeouts have been a consistent issue for Barrero, and the young infielder has continued to struggle with pitch recognition and refuses to lay off those breaking balls.

In 46 games in the majors last season, Barrero hit.218/.295/.323 with a wRC+ of 65 according to FanGraphs. With the Louisville Bats, Barrero posted a slash line of .258/.333/.540 with a wRC+ of 110.

Defense has never been the problem for Jose Barrero. And having the type of athletic ability that Barrero possesses, while also playing a premium position, could see the Cincinnati Reds looking to shop the shortstop before 6 PM ET today in order to free up a 40-man roster spot.

3. The Reds could trade Nick Senzel to clear roster space

Reports have emerged that the Cincinnati Reds are likely to non-tender Nick Senzel later this week. There's every reason to believe that most clubs will wait until the Reds and Senzel finally part ways before Friday's non-tender deadline, but another club could step up and trade for Senzel today.

Senzel hit just .236/.297/.399 with a wRC+ of 83 according to FanGraphs. However, the 28-year-old slashed .347/.389/.619 against left-handed pitching this past season.

It's become apparent that the Cincinnati organization and Senzel will not be joined in 2024. The Reds relegated the former first-round pick to a part-time role and eventually even optioned him to Triple-A.

Senzel did make a brief return late in the season, and actually played quite well. The University of Tennessee alum also offers positional flexibility, though he's played better defense on the infield dirt than the outfield grass.

The question becomes whether or not Senzel even has trade value at this point, especially with that arbitration number sitting at over $3-million according to MLB Trade Rumors. Most teams are probably more likely to wait out the Reds decision and sign Senzel once he becomes a free agent.

But it only takes one, and if there's a team who believes that Nick Senzel is more than just a part-time player and would like to install the former No. 2 overall pick at the hot corner heading into 2024, there's a chance that Reds could trade him later today.