Recent Reds roster cuts signal new way of doing business in Cincinnati
By Drew Koch
An overwhelming number of the Cincinnati faithful were flabbergasted when it was announced earlier this spring that Hunter Strickland had agreed to a minor-league deal with the Reds. Were David Bell and Nick Krall even watching the same games that we all were last season?
It felt as if every time Strickland toed the rubber in 2022, disaster was sure to strike. Strickland went 3-3 with a 4.91 ERA and surrendered eight home runs (1.2 HR/9). One of the few accurate and positive things that Bell could say about Strickland after the signing was that he was available to pitch every time he was called upon.
Well, the nightmare that could have been is over before it even began. On Saturday, in a rather surprising move considering the number of relievers slated to hit the Injured List, the Reds chose to release Strickland rather than add him to the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster.
Recent Reds roster cuts signal new way of doing business in Cincinnati.
Admit it! You thought that Hunter Strickland was going to sneak onto the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, didn't you? Hey, I'll freely admit that Strickland's release may be the most shocking roster cut of the spring.
With Lucas Sims, Tony Santillan, Justin Dunn, Vladimir Gutierrez, Luke Weaver, and Tejay Antone all scheduled to begin the 2023 season on the IL, Cincinnati's roster was tailor made for Strickland to be added.
But instead, it would appear as though the Reds are poised to take their best relievers into the 2023 season. Six of the eight spots are all but locked up, and the quartet of Bennett Sousa, Alex Young, Derek Law, and Joel Kuhnel will be in contention for the last two spots in the bullpen.
But Hunter Strickland's release is just the latest in a string of roster moves that feel, well, un-Reds-like. The team has reassigned veterans Matt Reynolds and Chase Anderson to minor-league camp while also releasing utility man Chad Pinder.
While the battle for the final two spots in the Reds bullpen is down to four, it would seem that the same is true for the last couple spots among the club's position players. Will Benson, Jason Vosler, TJ Friedl, and Henry Ramos will be jockeying for position over the last couple days of spring training.
The Cincinnati Reds have cleared the way for the young talent to perform this season. While veterans like the aforementioned Reynolds and Anderson will add depth in the minors, it's hard to imagine either being given preference over a player like Elly De La Cruz, Levi Stoudt, or Brandon Williamson.
Let's not pretend that it's business as usual in the Queen City. The Reds would appear to have a plan and it's going to rest on the shoulders of the team's young talent rather than major league retreads. The 2023 season is unlikely to end in a playoff berth, but things appear to be looking up.