This Reds player should lose his roster spot when Luis Castillo returns from the IL

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo. / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Luis Castillo is returning to the Cincinnati Reds today. Castillo has been named the starter for Monday's series opener against the National League Central Division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

Castillo has been sidelined since spring training with shoulder soreness, and after beginning a rehab assignment a few weeks ago, the right-hander is ready to return to a major league mound.

Unfortunately, this means someone on the Reds active roster will have to lose his spot. Cincinnati has made some changes to the roster in recent days having dismissed Buck Farmer and the newly acquired Robert Dugger. Who's next?

Luis Castillo should replace Joel Kuhnel on the Reds roster.

It may seem unfair, but the Cincinnati Reds should option Joel Kuhnel to Triple-A Louisville when Luis Castillo returns to the team today. There's always a surprise injury that could pop up, but if everyone on the 26-man roster is healthy, Kuhnel should be the one who's sent packing.

I know, Kuhnel hasn't even appeared in a major league game since 2020, but the Reds do not have many other options. Given the number of injuries this team has suffered, it's hard to envision a position player being sent down in favor of Castillo. If that happens to be the case, the most likely player to be optioned would be Alejo Lopez.

The only other pitchers on the Cincinnati roster with minor league options remaining are Dauri Moreta, Alexis Diaz, Tony Santillan, and Art Warren. All four are viewed as key pieces in this year's bullpen.

After a nice debut in his hometown, Phillip Diehl has struggled mightily. But Diehl is out of minor league options, so it would require the team to designate him for assignment in order to open up his roster spot. With Justin Wilson looking to be out for several more weeks, it's hard to see the Reds parting with their only left-handed reliever just yet.

Yes, it may seem unfortunate and even a little unfair, but Joel Kuhnel will likely lose his roster spot when Luis Castillo returns. The positive for Kuhnel is that he's now on the 40-man roster, so he'll be back in the big leagues sometime later in 2022.

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