Why Harrison Bader could be DFA'd when Jonathan India returns

Harrison Bader may not be part of the Cincinnati Reds roster for much longer.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Harrison Bader
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Harrison Bader / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds plucked former New York Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader off waivers eariler this month. The Yankees were out of contention and looking to shed some payroll.

Bader has played in seven games since arriving from the Bronx, but his time in Reds uniform could be fleeting. Bader has just two hits in 14 at-bats and really fits the role of a platoon player.

The Reds expect Joey Votto to the return the roster as early as Sunday, and Jonathan India might not be that far behind. Will Bader still be part of the Reds roster once India returns?

Why Harrison Bader could be DFA'd when Jonathan India returns.

This all boils down to roster construction and how the Cincinnati Reds foresee shaping their team, not just over the final few weeks of the 2023 season, but into the upcoming offseason.

If Joey Votto returns this weekend, the Reds can simply option Stuart Fairchild back to Triple-A Louisville. While Fairchild has value, both he and Harrison Bader serve similar roles - right-handed hitting outfielders with above-average speed and a good glove.

But if Jonathan India returns next week, as planned, that's when things get interesting. The Reds really have three options at the point - option Nick Senzel back Triple-A, option Nick Martini back to Triple-A, or designate Bader for assignment.

With Martini being a left-handed hitting utility player who can field first base and play the outfield, not to mention his influence in the clubhouse and knack for coming up big in clutch moments, it feels as if his roster spot is secure.

So this basically comes down to either Harrison Bader or Nick Senzel. Both are role players and not everyday starters who fill a similar niche on this year's Reds team. Both players hit left-handed pitching very well, and while Senzel is the more versatile defender, Bader handles outfield duties with much more skill and finesse.

Senzel, however, has been on fire of late and has posted an OPS of .850 since returning from Triple-A Louisville, and with the Cincinnati Reds in the midst of a playoff run, does manager David Bell really want to exchange one of his hottest hitters for a player who most likely won't be back with the team in 2024?

With a right-handed hitting outfield of Senzel, Spencer Steer, and Hunter Renfroe, Harrison Bader all of the sudden become expendable. Don't be shocked if Bader is cut loose next week.