5 players still on the Reds roster who should be non-tendered

The Cincinnati Reds will need to create some roster spots in the coming weeks.

Cincinnati Reds infielder Nick Senzel
Cincinnati Reds infielder Nick Senzel / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds will enter the 2023-24 offseason with a lot of positions already claimed heading into Opening Day next season.

Players like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Spencer Steer should feel very comfortable about their standing on the 40-man roster heading into this winter. But other players are not as fortunate.

This year's non-tender deadline is Friday, November 18th. Between now and then, the Reds font office has some questions to answer. If no trades are made to lighten the load on the 40-man roster, these five players should be non-tendered.

1. Reds OF TJ Hopkins should be non-tendered

TJ Hopkins was left off the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster last offseason, but no other team took a flier on the outfielder during the Rule 5 Draft. Hopkins got his shot in the big leagues earlier this year, and while it was little more than a cup of coffee, Hopkins didn't do enough to keep his roster spot.

That's not to say that Hopkins shouldn't be retained by the Reds heading into next season, but Cincinnati will be looking to upgrade the roster during the offseason and the 26-year-old is certainly expendable.

Hopkins didn't get a very long look and logged just seven hits in 41 at-bats. Though Hopkins has the positional versatility to play all three outfield positions, the Cincinnati Reds have plenty of those players on the roster already.

Jake Fraley, TJ Friedl, and Will Benson can each play all three outfield spots, and so can Stuart Fairchild. Hopkins would give the Reds an additional right-handed bat, but Spencer Steer will likely see more time in the outfield next season.

In 94 games at Triple-A, TJ Hopkins posted a .924 OPS, so there's an outside chance that Cincinnati will look to keep the South Carolina alum around. However, with the likely selection of Rece Hinds to the 40-man roster, the Reds are going to need to make some room.

2. Reds RHP Derek Law should be non-tendered

This selection isn't as cut and dry as some might think, and there are probably some within the Cincinnati Reds fanbase who'd like to see Derek Law return to the team in 2024. But, the Reds may not have space for Law on the 40-man roster.

If you take a peek at the Cincinnati relief corps, right away, there are five pitchers who are all but assured to be back next season. Luacs Sims, Alexis Diaz, Sam Moll, Ian Gibaut and Fernando Cruz are all locks to return in 2024.

If, as most Reds fans are assuming, the front office is looking to upgrade the bullpen, some players will not be retained. Law is on that list, as is left-handed reliever Alex Young. However, Young has a minor league option remaining, which may bode well for the southpaw.

That's where Law's status gets shaky. The right-hander is out of minor league options and will be owed a raise through the arbitration process. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Law could expect to make somewhere around $1.4-million next season through arbitration.

That's hardly much of a commitment for a reliever like Derek Law, but with pitchers like Carson Spiers, Lyon Richardson, and Casey Legumina all have minor league options remaining and will cost the league minimum. It's hard to justify keeping Law on the 40-man roster during the offseason.

3. Reds OF Nick Martini should be non-tendered

This is one that could go either way, but it would seem as though the Cincinnati Reds would be best served to non-tender Nick Martini and attempt to re-sign him to a minor league deal.

Martini is a journeyman outfielder who also showed an ability to play first base for the Reds last season. The 33-year-old was well-regarded as a great presence in the clubhouse as well, so don't be totally shocked if the Reds decide to keep Martini on the roster throughout the offseason.

However, while the left-handed hitter produced two of the most-clutch moments during the Reds 2023 season, it's debatable as to whether or not he would even break camp with Cincinnati next spring.

For starter, Martini occupies the same role as Will Benson and Jake Fraley - a left-handed hitter with power who could platoon in either corner outfield spot. There's a measure of redundancy that just wouldn't seem to fit,

Nick Martini does have minor league options left and isn't arbitration eligible, so he does have those things going in his favor. It's all going to come down to the number of roster spots necessary for the young prospects who'll need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft and potential free agent acquisitions.

4. Reds IF/OF Nick Senzel should be non-tendered

There is a scenario in which it makes a lot of sense to keep Nick Senzel on the 40-man roster. The former first-round is one of the most versatile defenders in the clubhouse, and he absolutely slayed left-handed pitching last season.

But if the Cincinnati Reds are unable to find a trade partner, it's time for the club to part ways with Senzel. This move was foreshadowed last season after the Reds decided to option Senzel to Triple-A.

It was only after a number of injuries that he even returned to the roster. Don't forget, Senzel was left in the minors while players like Henry Ramos, Nick Martini, and Stuart Fairchild were getting at-bats over him.

There were plenty of reports that emerged around the MLB trade deadline suggesting that Senzel and his representation met with Reds leadership to discuss his role with the ball club. Sennzel had become little more than a platoon option who only saw the field when a southpaw was on the bump.

If the Cincinnati Reds already had conversations with the other clubs before the trade deadline, those talks could reemerge shortly after the offseason officially begins. Don't be shocked if, as was the case with Tucker Barnhart in 2021, Nick Senzel is traded shortly after the World Series is over.

If not, it's time for the Reds to non-tender Senzel. While both parties own partial blame for things not working out, it's painfully obvious that it's time for Senzel and the Reds to part company.

5. Reds SS Jose Barrero should be non-tendered

The situation surrounding Nick Senzel is eerily similar to the one involving Jose Barrero. Unlike Senzel, however, Barrero hasn't had near as many chances, and there is reason to believe that Cincinnati will hang on to the shortstop after a strong showing in Triple-A last season.

As is the case with Senzel, both the Reds and Barrero share blame when it comes to the lack of production we've seen from the former top prospect. Inconsistent playing time, injuries, and postion changes could all be to blame for Barrero's lack of success.

That said, the 25-year-old hasn't held up his end of the bargain either. Cincinnati gave Barrero a golden opportunity this spring to show that he could be that player that scouts and experts believed he could be, but the infielder was quickly brushed aside after another slow start.

Just like Senzel, the Reds would be wise to shop Barrero rather than just non-tender him. Being that Barrero is still under team control through 2027 and still pre-arbitration eligible, there will be teams willing to take a flier on the 25-year-old rather than risk losing him to a waiver claim.

The Cincinnati Reds could decide to hang on to Jose Barrero, but with Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, and Noelvi Marte, the team has more than enough depth at the shortstop position. Cincinnati showed no inclination to move Barrero to center field after demoting him to Triple-A, so that would appear to be off the table as well.

It's a numbers game, and it would seem as though Barrero is out of time. In terms of raw ability, very few position the talents that Barrero has. Unfortunately, he's never been able to put it all together. Barrero's career-OPS is .497 and he has a strikeout-rate of 36.5-percent over his three major league seasons.