After dodging a bullet in Rule 5 Draft, Reds should explore their options with Ivan Johnson

Ivan Johnson Cincinnati Reds prospects
Ivan Johnson Cincinnati Reds prospects / Nigel Cook/News-Journal via Imagn

Surprisingly, the Cincinnati Reds did not lose a single prospect during Wednesday's Rule 5 Draft. Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and others were protected last month after being added to the Reds 40-man roster, but several players remained available to be poached by opposing teams during the draft.

The Reds did make a selection, but a prearranged deal with the San Francisco Giants saw Blake Sabol traded shortly after the draft was completed. Cincinnati received a player to be named later and cash considerations from San Francisco in exchange for the minor league outfielder.

But the bigger story for the Reds fanbase that emerged from the Rule 5 Draft is the fact that Ivan Johnson, a former second-round pick, was not picked up during the Rule 5 Draft. The Reds left several young prospects unprotected, but Johnson was the club's highest-rated prospect available according to MLB Pipeline.

Reds IF Ivan Johnson goes unclaimed in 2022 Rule 5 Draft.

Ivan Johnson only played in 50 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts last season due to injury. Johnson underwent hamate surgery in the offseason and a shoulder injury crept up near the end of the season, Still, Johnson hit .261/.325/.428 while primarily playing second base.

Now, the Reds are not suffering from a shortage of middle infielders. Despite trading Kyle Farmer, the Reds still have Alejo Lopez, Jonathan India, Jose Barrero, Noelvi Marte, Elly De La Cruz, Spencer Steer, Kevin Newman, and Matt Reynolds on the 40-man roster.

An argument could be made that Lopez and Barrero could start the season at Triple-A while Marte and De La Cruz are deployed to Double-A to begin next season. There's also former first-round pick Matt McLain to think about as well.

Johnson doesn't appear to factor into the equation at the moment, but a strong showing in spring training or during the early part of the minor league season could change things dramatically.

Will the Cincinnati Reds look to trade Ivan Johnson? Call him up to the big leagues? Johnson seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, but don't sleep on his ability. The Reds dodged a bullet by being able to retain his services, now it's time to see what the 2023 season holds for the 24-year-old.

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