3 Reds players who should be cut before Opening Day, but won't be

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Strickland
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Strickland / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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We're officially less than two weeks away from Opening Day and the Cincinnati Reds roster is beginning to take shape.

Recently, some of the organizations top prospects were reassigned to minor-league camp, a signal that the youth-movement won't begin on March 30th. Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand will have to wait a little longer before making their big league debuts.

But, as is oftentimes the case, the Reds are not necessarily including the best 26 players. Which three players should be cut before Opening Day, but won't be?

1. Reds IF/ OF Chad Pinder should be cut before Opening Day, but won't be.

Keeping Chad Pinder certainly isn't the worst decision, and there is merit to it because the Cincinnati Reds have deciding to carry three catchers on the 26-man roster. Were Nick Senzel healthy, it's very likely that this roster spot would belong to him and not Pinder.

With Luke Maile, Tyler Stephenson, and Curt Casali projected to be part of the Reds Opening Day roster, Cincinnati is going to need as much versatility on the roster as possible. Outside of Spencer Steer, the Reds are limited when it comes to versatile defenders, and even the former Minnesota farmhand is projected to spend most of his time at third base.

Pinder brings versatility to the Reds lineup, but is adding him to the 40-man roster really the best decision? Last season, Pinder posted an OPS of just .648 and, this spring, he has just three hits in 27 at-bats. Furthermore, his inclusion is only going to take away at-bats from players like Alejo Lopez, Stuart Fairchild, and Nick Solak.

It feels like a forgone conclusion that Chad Pinder will be part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, and while the 30-year-old could be primed for a bounce-back year, with so many young players who could be part of the future, it just seems unnecessary to keep Pinder on the roster for what's likely to be no more than three-to-four months.

2. Reds RHP Hunter Strickland should be cut before Opening Day, but won't be.

Tell me I'm wrong. I keep waiting for someone to convince me otherwise, but it hasn't happened yet. Perhaps the fact that Hunter Strickland is a non-roster invitee and not part of the 40-man roster will be just enough to push him off the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. But I don't think that's the case.

The Reds are going to place Tejay Antone and Justin Dunn on the 60-day IL before the season which will open up two spots on the 40-man roster. Look for Strickland to break camp with the Reds even though everybody reading this knows that there are better players on the current roster.

David Bell has affinity for veterans, and has spoken highly of Strickland in the past. While his spring training numbers are not good, it won't matter once final cuts are made. Strickland has pitched in six games this spring and has five strikeouts while allowing six runs on nine hits, including three home runs.

The one saving grace is that Strickland will not be relied upon to be the team's closer. That job belongs to Alexis Diaz. Of course, handing Strickland the ball with the lead in the seventh inning isn't going to be much better.

The entire Cincinnati Reds fanbase has about as much faith in Hunter Strickland than they do in their now-broken March Madness bracket. Strickland has no business being on the Reds Opening Day roster, but somehow, he'll find a way.

3. Reds RHP Chase Anderson should be cut before Opening Day, but won't be.

If Chase Anderson breaks camp with the Cincinnati Reds and is a member of the bullpen, I'm fine with that. But if Anderson takes away a roster spot from Reds prospect Brandon Williamson, that's not okay.

The Reds have already demoted Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Matt McLain, so how about giving the Cincinnati faithful something to cheer about in the first couple of months by adding Williamson to the starting rotation.

As it stands, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft are locked in. Luke Weaver, if healthy, seems likely to be ticketed as the No. 4 starter. That final spot in the rotation is now down to Anderson, Williamson, Luis Cessa, and Connor Overton.

Anderson hasn't been awful this spring and pitched well in spurts at the end of last season. But the 35-year-old is not going to be part of the rotation by midseason. The Reds should assign Anderson and Cessa to the bullpen, send Overton back to Triple-A, and make Williamson the fifth starter.

But they won't. This goes back to David Bell's fondness of veteran players and Derek Johnson's history with Anderson from their time in Milwaukee. Again, I've got no problem with Chase Anderson on the team, but not if it takes away an opportunity from Brandon Williamson.

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