3 Reds who made the Opening Day roster but shouldn't have a long leash

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Connor Overton
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Connor Overton / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds have all but finalized their Opening Day roster. While there aren't many surprises, a few players might be in a bit over their head.

The Opening Day roster is set in stone for just one day, but as the season moves along, the 26-players who take the field on a regular basis can become rather fluid. With so many Reds players beginning the season the Injured List, it'll be interesting to see how many players stick around beyond just the first two weeks of the 2023 season.

It's safe to say that young players like Spencer Steer and Will Benson will be given a rather long leash, but that might not hold true for others within the Reds organization. Which three players who made the Opening Day roster shouldn't have a very long leash at all?

1. Reds SS Jose Barrero shouldn't have a long leash.

This feels like the most obvious answer, right? After falling on his face during his late-season call-up in 2022, Jose Barrero will need to get off to the fast start in 2023. Barrero looked lost in almost every facet of the game last season, but Reds manager David Bell has given Barrero a chance to be the starting shortstop in Cincinnati this season.

It's not as if the Reds didn't prepare themselves for Barrero to struggle. While everyone within the organization is hopeful that the 24-year-old figures it out, Kevin Newman is waiting in the wings in the event that Barrero is stifled early on.

Cincinnati also has two budding shortstop prospects down on the farm who will be ready if called upon. Elly De La Cruz will begin the season on the IL with a hamstring injury, but Matt McLain was taken in Round 1 of the 2021 MLB Draft and had a fantastic spring in Goodyear.

It is imperative for Jose Barrero to shake off last year's shortcomings and focus on the task ahead as his enters what amounts to a make-or-break year for the young infielder. Barrero will not and should not receive a very long leash this season.

2. Reds RHP Connor Overton shouldn't have a long leash.

Were it not for Luke Weaver's injury, Connor Overton would probably be pitching alongside Chase Anderson, Levi Stoudt, and Brandon Williamson in Louisville to begin the 2023 season. But, Weaver's forearm injury forced David Bell's hand and the right-hander will be the Reds No. 4 starter in 2023.

Unless Overton is able to duplicate the numbers fans saw in 2022 before landing on the IL with a back injury, the 29-year-old is unlikely to remain in the rotation for very long. To say Overton looked shaky during spring training would be kind.

Overton pitched in four games, covered over 11 innings, and recorded 10 strikeouts. That's the good news. The bad news is that he also posted an ERA of 15.43, a WHIP of 2.49, and allowed 23 runs on 26 hits including six gopher balls.

According to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, Overton was taken deep in back-to-back at-bats by Jonathan India and Stuart Fairchild in Wednesday's scrimmage. That's great news for India and Fairchild, but not so much for Overton.

Connor Overton isn't a high-velocity pitcher, but that doesn't mean he can't be an effective starter. However, if he's not hitting his spots, it's going to be long day for the bullpen because Overton won't last three innings. Too many short outings will cost him dearly, so Overton will be on a short leash despite breaking camp with the big league squad.

3. Reds RHP Luis Cessa shouldn't have a long leash.

Luis Cessa, more than both Jose Barrero and Connor Overton, should be given a bit more slack. And it's not so much that Cessa shouldn't have a long leash in terms of remaining on the team, just remaining in the rotation.

Cessa received an open audition late last season to show that he could be a starter again. Cessa never materialized in that role with the New York Yankees, and until last August, he'd always been a reliever since joining the Reds organization in 2021.

But despite leaving for the World Baseball Classic and appearing in just one game for Team Mexico, David Bell kept Cessa's seat warm. The 30-year-old was named one of the Reds five starters and is slated to take the mound on Tuesday night versus the Chicago Cubs.

With Levi Stoudt and Brandon Williamson beginning the season at Triple-A, Cessa should have a short leash in 2023. If Cessa struggles and one of the young prospects is lighting it up in Louisville, the Reds should push Cessa to bullpen and select the young hurlers to the 26-man roster.

Luis Cessa is a free agent at the end of the season, and it seems unlikely that he'll remain with the Cincinnati Reds beyond this season. There's a chance that Cessa could be on the trade block come July.

Furthermore, the Reds relief corps is very much a work in progress and could use a veteran like Cessa to help stabilize things. If Cincinnati is struggling to maintain leads late in games, the best path may be to move Cessa from the starting rotation to the bullpen.

Next. 4 biggest X-factors heading into the Reds 2023 season. dark