Way-too-early Reds 2024 Opening Day roster predictions

The offseason has begun. What might the Cincinnati Reds 2024 Opening Day roster look like?

Cincinnati Reds infielders Spencer Steer and Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds infielders Spencer Steer and Elly De La Cruz / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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The 2023 season is officially over. That means that all 30 major league teams can turn their attention to the offseason and roster construction for the 2024 season.

The Cincinnati Reds would appear to have most of their 2024 Opening Day roster already in place, but there are some areas of concern that Nick Krall and the front office will need to address this winter.

It's never too early to make some predictions about next year's Opening Day roster, right? As the offseason begins to unfold, let's look at a way-too-early Reds 2024 Opening Day roster prediction.

Way-too-early Reds 2024 Opening Day starting lineup (9)

Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Spencer Steer, TJ Friedl, Randal Grichuk, Tyler Stephenson, Jake Fraley

The Cincinnati Reds 2024 starting lineup, for all intents and purposes, is virtually set. Last year's rookie quartet of Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Noelvi Marte are almost sure to start on Opening Day next season.

Spencer Steer will no doubt be part of next year's Opening Day lineup as well, and so will TJ Friedl. Reds fans may see more of Steer in left field in 2024, but last year's rookie will also get plenty of looks on the infield dirt as well.

Tyler Stephenson will likely return in 2024, and it'll be a prove-it year of sorts for the former first-round pick. After limiting his opportunities behind the plate this past season, Stephenson will likely be reinserted as the team's QB1 on Opening Day.

Jake Fraley will see time in right field and as the team's designated hitter. But the Reds could certainly use some punch from the right side as well.

Perhaps a free agent signing like Randal Grichuk makes sense. The veteran put up very good numbers against left-handed pitching last season (.328/.388/.607) and could be a solid addition to next year's Reds team.

Finally, you'll notice that Jonathan India is not part of these way-too-early roster predictions. India could be be a hot commodity this offseason and may very well be traded before Opening Day next season.

Way-too-early Reds 2024 Opening Day starting rotation (5)

Logan Gilbert, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Andrew Abbott, Graham Ashcraft

The Cincinnati Reds need another starting pitcher. Might Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall give Jerry Dipoto of the Seattle Mariners a call once again?

The Mariners and Reds have been frequent trade partners in the past, and there's no reason to believe they can't do so once again. Working out some sort of deal that would send Jonathan India and prospects to the Pacific Northwest in exchange for Logan Gilbert could be a win-win for both clubs.

The M's need hitting and the Reds need pitching. Cincinnati has an abundance of infielders and Seattle has a plethora of arms. Obviously it would take more than just India to secure Gilbert's services, but the Reds have a deep farm system and could unload a prospect or two to sweeten the deal.

Gilbert, who has four years of team-control remaining, was 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA and 3.85 FIP last season. According to FanGraphs, Gilbert walked fewer than five-percent of the batters he faced in 2023. This would be a massive get if the Reds were able to pull this off.

The rest of the Cincinnati Reds rotation seems academic at this point. Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft will be part of the starting rotation, and provided Nick Lodolo is fully heathy, he'll be part of the group as well.

That fifth spot will come down to one of three pitchers - Andrew Abbott, Brandon Williamson, or Connor Phillips. Abbott would seem to be the most polished of the trio. Sending Williamson and Phillips to the minors to begin the 2024 season is a luxury that very few teams will have.

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.

Way-too-early Reds 2024 Opening Day bullpen (8)

Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, Fernando Cruz, Sam Moll, Ian Gibaut, Will Smith, Phil Maton, Tejay Antone

The bullpen was drastically underrated heading into the 2023 season. Outside of former first-round pick Lucas Sims, the Reds relief corps was comprised of castoffs, late-round draft picks, prospects, and minor league free agents.

But that group rallied and kept the team in countless games last season. Expect to see some upgrades during the offseason, but at least 50-percent of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen will return in 2024.

Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, and Sam Moll are all locks to return next season. Diaz is the Reds bullpen ace, Sims was terrific with inherited runners, and Moll gave them a fantastic option against left-handed hitters last season.

Go ahead an pencil in Ian Gibaut and Fernando Cruz as well. Gibaut would be better served as middle reliever in 2024, and hopefully some offseason additions can make that a reality. Cruz may well have been the most underrated reliever on the Reds roster last season.

Tejay Antone is a giant question mark heading into the 2024 season, and should not be counted on. However, if the right-hander is healthy, he can be a weapon out of the Cincinnati bullpen.

If the Reds are looking to spend money this winter, adding some bullpen help should be a priority when it comes to free agent acquisitions. Both Will Smith and Phil Maton have a lot of postseason experience and could add some length to the Reds relief corps.

The Cincinnati Reds would still have relievers like Alex Young, Daniel Duarte, Casey Legumina, Lyon Richardson, and Carson Spiers at their disposal in the minor leagues. Adding Smith and Maton would give the Reds plenty of depth heading into next season.