Predicting the Reds 40-man roster moves prior to Opening Day

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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There have been several roster moves of late that give the Reds fanbase clues as to how the organization plans to proceed going forward, but there's still several questions remaining.

The most glaring session after Joey Votto's Q&A with the media is whether or not the six-time All-Star will be ready for Opening Day. If Votto can't go, that throws a monkey wrench into the works.

While most of the Reds roster is set, there are still some holes that need to be filled. How might Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall finagle his 40-man roster over the coming days.

Reds 40-man roster predictions: Justin Dunn to 60-day IL, Derek Law added

One move that everyone knows is coming is Justin Dunn's placement on the 60-day IL. While it seems as though the former Seattle Mariners start has lived on the Injured List since arriving last spring, Dunn did appear in seven games in 2022.

Dunn has endured issues with his right shoulder since the middle of the 2021 season. Dunn was part of the deal that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to Seattle, and Cincinnati is holding out hope that the right-hander can return to full-health later this season.

After cutting bait with former reliever Hunter Strickland, it would appear as though Derek Law is a lock to be part of the Reds Opening Day roster. Law was part of Cincinnati's 40-man roster heading into the offseason, but was non-tendered last fall.

The right-hander has been the Reds best reliever this spring with a 1.42 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. While Alexis Diaz and Buck Farmer are expected to get the bulk of innings when Cincinnati is in the lead late in games, don't be shocked if Derek Law is on the bump during high-leverage situations early in the season.

Reds 40-man roster predictions: Tejay Antone to 60-day IL, Henry Ramos added

Another Cincinnati Reds pitcher who'll be headed to the 60-day Injured List will be Tejay Antone. The right-hander suffered a setback during his rehab and will likely be out of action until closer to the All-Star break.

Antone injured his elbow shortly after the second-half of the 2021 season began. The Texas native underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career and spent all of last season on the 60-day IL.

Henry Ramos has played outstanding this spring. After an injury-riddled season playing for the KT Wiz of the KBO in 2022, Ramos signed a minor-league contract with the Reds during the offseason and received an invite to spring training.

Ramos compete for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, but the 30-year-old barely saw the field. However, upon his return, the switch-hitting outfielder showcased his power by smacking a home run his first at-bats.

After the Cincinnati Reds released Chad Pinder and optioned the trio of Stuart Fairchild, Michael Siani, and Nick Solak to Triple-A, it would appear as though Henry Ramos has emerged as the team's fifth outfielder. Once added to the 40-man roster, Cincinnati will have the ability to option Ramos to the minor leagues if necessary.

Reds 40-man roster predictions: Joel Kuhnel DFA'd, Alex Young added

Now we're starting to enter unexpected territory. It's quite possible that Joel Kuhnel survives the last round of Reds roster cuts and remains with the club for Opening Day. But of all the players on that roster bubble, Kuhnel feels like the player most in jeopardy of losing his spot.

Yes, Kuhnel has minor-league options remaining, so Cincinnati could simply option the right-hander to Triple-A Louisville rather than desigante him for assignment. Or, for that matter, the Reds could choose to keep Kuhnel on the active roster. A 2.79 ERA in nine games this spring is nothing to sneeze at.

But the Reds have been effusive in their desire to add a left-handed reliever to join Reiver Sanmartin in the bullpen this season. After letting Daniel Norris go earlier this spring, non-roster invitee Alex Young is one of two left-handed options remaining.

The other is Bennett Sousa whom the Reds acquired off waivers from the Chicago White Sox earlier this spring. Sousa has six punch outs in seven games and an ERA of just 2.84. Sousa has issued just one walk but has allowed nine hits.

The Cincinnati Reds could just as easily opt to DFA Sousa in order to bring Young aboard. But Sousa would give Cincinnati an additional left-handed option in the event of an injury to Young or Sanmartin. With Luke Weaver, Lucas Sims, and Tony Santillan working their way back anyway, Joel Kuhnel's spot in the Reds bullpen is very much in jeopardy.

Reds 40-man roster predictions: Tony Santillan to 60-day IL, Jason Vosler added

Signing Jason Vosler during the offseason felt very much like the addition of Brandon Drury in 2022. A power-hitting corner infielder who had moderate success a year ago, Vosler could sneak onto the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster.

Vosler presence becomes even more crucial if Joey Votto is unable to go. I don't know about you, but I wasn't encouraged by what Votto said on Saturday. It was almost as if the former MVP was prepping Reds Country for his absence.

If Votto begin the season on the IL in order to continue to ramp up following surgery, Vosler's inclusion on the Reds Opening Day roster is a must. Even if Votto is ready to go, Vosler could still find his way onto the roster.

With Spencer Steer as the lone third baseman on the active roster, Reds manager David Bell may want some insurance in the event that Steer struggles or needs a day off before Nick Senzel returns.

Tony Santillan is not necessarily two months away from being ready to pitch, but sending the right-hander to the 60-day IL might provide the team with the most options. No one else on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster is expected to be limited to begin the 2023 season.

While Santillan may be ready as soon as mid-to-late April, if it becomes necessary to add Jason Vosler to the 40-man roster, the Reds will have a difficult decision. Do they DFA Stuart Fairchild or Nick Solak? Do they release Ian Gibaut? Moving Santillan to the 60-day IL would give the team continued roster flexibility and not disrupt their plan for the reliever all that much.

Next. 5 Reds prospects to watch at Double-A Chattanooga. dark