The Cincinnati Reds, after designating TJ Hopkins for assignment, traded the outfielder to the San Francisco Giants.
Hopkins had worked his way up through the minor leagues over the past few seasons and made it all the way to the big leagues in 2023. Hopkins was 7-for-41 (.171) in 25 games for the Reds a year ago, but posted a .924 OPS at Triple-A last season.
Hopkins was a fringe-player, unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, but it seems as though Cincinnati moved on from the 26-year-old rather abruptly. What does this trade say about the other fringe-players on the Reds 40-man roster?
Which Reds player could be the next one to lose his roster spot?
TJ Hopkins had minor-league options remaining, so it's a little odd that the Cincinnati Reds would decide to part ways with a player that offered that kind of roster flexibility.
The same cannot be said of Stuart Fairchild and Jose Barrero, both of whom have no minor-league options remaining. If the Reds hope to retain either Fairchild or Barrero in 2024, both will have to break camp with the big league club or pass through outright waivers.
It's also curious that Cincinnati traded one of their lone right-handed hitting outfielders. While Fairchild bats from the right side, and Spencer Steer is sure to get a lot of playing time in left field next season, Will Benson, TJ Friedl, and Jake Fraley are all left-handed hitters.
Nick Martini is as well. Perhaps the trade of Hopkins says more about the Reds' feelings toward Martini more than anyone else on the 40-man roster. After allowing Curt Casali and Joey Votto to enter free agency this offseason, there's very little veteran leadership in the clubhouse.
Outside of Luke Maile, and now Jeimer Candelario, no one among the group of Reds position players has more than three years of major league experience.
Martini also has a minor-league option remaining, so the 33-year-old doesn't have to be part of the Reds Opening Day roster in order to remain with the organization.
Bubba Thompson, who just joined the Cincinnati Reds earlier this offseason, got a reprieve for now. The speedy outfielder was picked up off waivers shortly after the 2023 season came to a close.
This group of players are riding that fine line between remaining on the offseason roster and entering free agency. The Reds 40-man roster is currently full, so any additions will need to be met with a corresponding transaction. All four of these players will probably be on pins and needles for the next several weeks.