Way-too-early Reds 2024 Opening Day bench (4)
Will Benson, Luke Maile, Kolten Wong, Stuart Fairchild
Luke Maile already signed a contract extension with the Cincinnati Reds, so that's out of the way. Maile fit in perfectly with the group of young players on last year's team, and his calming influence will be back in the clubhouse and behind the dish in 2024.
Will Benson will be get plenty of opportunities to start next season as well, so don't look at the outfielder's placement on the bench as some sort of slap in the face. Benson will undoubtedly share time with Jake Fraley, Spencer Steer, and, based on this roster prediction, Randal Grichuk.
As for a bench bat, how about Kolten Wong? The left-handed hitting infielder has been a Reds killer for years. The trade to the Seattle last season didn't work out well for the Mariners or the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wong hit just .165 for the Mariners before landing with the Los Angeles Dodgers to close out his 2023 campaign. But, in 58 games at Great American Ball Park, the veteran owns a slash line of .312/.401/.455 with five homers and 24 RBI.
For the final bench spot, for now, let's just settle on Stuart Fairchild. The former second-round pick can play all three outfield spots, possesses plenty of speed on the base paths, and has some pop in his bat. There's just no need for the Reds to invest many resources in the 26th spot on the roster.
Other players to consider as spring training rolls around will be Nick Martini, Jose Barrero, and Nick Senzel. However, all three could be non-tendered later this month. There's also outfield prospects like Jacob Hurtibise and Blake Dunn.