As part of a continuing series on the Reds' 25-man roster, I'm going to do a quick update. I doubt this is much different from what you've already seen in this space, but as we get closer to opening day it can't hurt to take another look.
The only outfield spot up for grabs is left field with the team set in center with Taveras and right with Bruce. (I won't tackle the Tavares signing again; suffice it to say the Reds seem set to go with him in center and the lead-off spot.) I would definitely like to see a platoon in left field, and my choice would be Dickerson/Gomes. What better way to break-in Dickerson than to only make him hit righthanders. And Gomes kills lefties and has some much-needed power. I see Hairston as the reserve (or fifth) outfielder in this mix. I would love to see Wilkin Castillo make the roster for flexibility reasons, but the Reds need to make a spot for Hairston. If the Reds don't like Gomes as much as I do (he's on a minor league deal and could play everyday in Louisville until they need him) they could platoon Hairston and Dickerson and make Castillo the super utility player.
The infield is set as long as A-Gon is healthy and it looks like he will be. Ward should be the back-up first baseman and left-handed pop off the bench, with Keppy the back up at the other three spots. Hanigan may be the back-up catcher, but if it were me, I would let him play everyday in Louisville and use Cota as the back-up.
That leaves Nix, Jaque Jones, Danny Richar, and Norris Hopper in Louisville in case of injury.
Homer is looking good for the fifth starter spot, but I think the team is leaning toward Owings as the fifth starter with Homer throwing every fifth day in Louisville. He would be the next option to start if there were an injury or Owings or Cueto don't get the job done. The wild card in this competition is Nick Masset, but I think he picks up the last bullpen spot for long relief/spot starter.
The other six relievers are pretty set, with Cordero, Weathers, Rhodes, Burton, Bray, and Lincoln.
That's a pretty solid rotation and bullpen. The question for the Reds is whether or not they'll score enough runs, because the pitching and defense look pretty solid. I still think the Reds have some payroll room so look for an in-season move if they are in the hunt by the Civil Rights game.
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