Reds Opening Day roster projection 2.0: Rotation becomes clearer, bench still muddled

Spring games have allowed a few players to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jose Barrero (2) catches a fly ball
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jose Barrero (2) catches a fly ball / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Reds Opening Day bullpen (8)

  • Alexis Diaz
  • Buck Farmer
  • Lucas Sims
  • Emilio Pagán
  • Sam Moll
  • Brent Suter
  • Nick Martinez
  • Tejay Antone

The Reds bullpen is relatively set. Alexis Diaz will be the Reds closer in 2024 with Sam Moll, Lucas Sims, and possibly Brent Suter acting as the bridge to the ninth inning. Moll has been dealing with a shoulder injury this spring, but it's not expected to keep him out of the Reds Opening Day lineup.

Emilio Pagán, one of the many free agents the Reds acquired this offseason, recently spoke to The Athletic (subscription required) and during the interview talked about his willingness to take on whatever role the team needed in 2024. The veteran will be a positive influence on the Reds reliever during the season.

The best pitcher this spring has been Buck Farmer. The Reds inked the right-hander to a one-year deal during the offseason and Farmer has looked incredibly sharp this spring. The 33-year-old isn't putting up great strikeout numbers yet, but he's keeping the base paths clear and limiting hits. You can't ask much more from a middle reliever.

Nick Martinez could go either way once the roster is finalized. The right-hander is being stretched out as a starter, and if the Reds prefer to go to with a four-man rotation to start the season based on how the schedule lays out, Martinez can fill a multitude of roles.

Finally, look for that last bullpen spot to come down to battle between Tejay Antone and Fernando Cruz. The aforementioned four-man rotation idea could see both Antone and Cruz be part of the roster but until David Bell makes his intentions known, it should be assumed the Reds will break camp with five starters and eight relievers.

Ian Gibaut, who's out of minor league options, is also a candidate to be part of the Reds bullpen, but the right-hander is dealing with a forearm issue and is likely to begin the 2024 season on the IL.