Pitchers and catchers have been in Goodyear for spring training for a few days. Today is the day that the rest of the players are required to show up. They’ll have the first full workout on Monday. It won’t be long before they take the field for actual games, with the first of the spring taking place on Saturday against Cleveland.
For the most part, the position players have things locked up. There only seems to be one spot in the every day lineup up for grabs. The third outfield spot, likely center field. That could go to Nick Senzel, Yasiel Puig, Scott Schebler, perhaps Phillip Ervin or maybe even Jose Siri. Maybe there’s some sort of mix-and-match situation for the position, too. There are a lot of outfielders that the team may need to find at-bats for. Giving the outfield spots as a whole a mix-and-match could help work all of that out.
The spots on the bench could also be rather limited as well. Manager David Bell said he expects to usually have a 13-man pitching staff. That leaves just 12 position players available. On the infield spots are locked in by Tucker Barnhart, Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, Jose Peraza, Eugenio Suarez, and whoever the backup catcher happens to be. It will be Curt Casali if he’s healthy and ready to go. He’s out of options and can’t be sent to the minors unless it’s on a rehab assignment.
In the outfield you’ve got Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler, Yasiel Puig, and Matt Kemp as locks right now. That’s 10 players that are locked in unless there are injuries or trades. You’ve got to imagine the team adds one infield option and one outfield option. But perhaps one player can do both. Nick Senzel could be that guy – he’s got the ability to play in the corner outfield spots, second base, and third base. In an emergency role, he can also cover you at shortstop for a day until you can bring up a true defensive shortstop from Triple-A if you need one. Of course he’s gunning for the starting center field spot this spring, too. We don’t know if that’s going to be possible, though – he’s never played there in a game before. In a month we will have a much better idea of this possibility.
The health of Alex Blandino could be big, too. He’s recovering from ACL surgery after suffering a knee injury last season. Whether or not he will be ready to begin the season is going to be close. He is capable of backing up the infield spots and could provide plenty of utility value.
Unlike the past few years, there simply don’t seem to be a lot of spots up for grabs. Because of that, the Cincinnati Reds look like a much stronger team than they’ve been in the past few seasons. But despite there not being a lot of spots up for grabs, there’s still plenty of reason to pay attention to what’s going on. The center field spot can be huge for how the Reds perform in 2019. It’s probably the biggest storyline of the spring right now. But the bullpen could have a few interesting storylines, too. Get ready – we’ve got full-squad action now.