Yesterday afternoon the Cincinnati Reds released their 60-man player pool roster for the 2020 season. It only had 57 players on it, which was more than most teams actually had – with some teams as low as 44 players (Baltimore Orioles). Teams can add players to the roster if they would like to. There are some rules about how you have to go about it, though. For now, with open spots, it’s not an issue to simply just add someone.
“Just because we didn’t put a guy on (the roster) doesn’t mean you can’t add him later. You can add him a week, two weeks, three weeks down the road – whatever it is,” said Reds General Manager Nick Krall.
That statement comes into play with someone like Derek Dietrich, who is still under contract with the organization, but was left off of the current 60-man roster. He wasn’t having the best spring, hitting just .174/.259/.478 with one walk and 12 strikeouts in 27 trips to the plate when the spring came to a half in mid-March. Still, we know that spring numbers don’t mean much and he’s got a track record of being a big leaguer.
If you happened to see the break down of the two “rosters”, one will be at Great American Ballpark, and the other at Prasco Park in Mason, it certainly looks like one group is very different than the other. The group heading to Great American Ballpark has all of the big league veterans on it, as well as just about every player that seems in line to be on the roster or truly competing for a roster spot. The group heading to Prasco Park features more of the guys you expected were going to be in Double-A and Triple-A this year to start and maybe get called up down the road.
“If you look at our roster, we had a handful of guys go to the big league park, besides (Mark) Payton, everybody else there is more established than those guys. That’s more for working groups. We tried to balance infielders and outfielders, just tried to balance what we could from a working group standpoint,” said Krall. “We have more pitchers coming to Great American Ball Park out of the chute than we do going to Prasco. We also have more catchers.”
“We tried to figure out how we can play games and work with the working groups. There are a lot of guys that are going to Prasco – they’re still competing for spots. We’re going to try to play some games, either up there or at Great American Ballpark and try to balance some squads to try and get some more at-bats. The rosters were broken up for a social distancing standpoint, but also to maximize the amount of work that guys can do.”
Teams can play up to three exhibition games this spring against another organization. The Reds have not yet figured out if they will be capable of doing that or not. But with 57 players between the two sites, they can do plenty of intrasquad games if they so choose, and it sounds like at some point they are going to be attempting to do that. Major League Baseball did tell teams that they would allow, for example, the first opponent of the season to travel to a city a few days prior to Opening Day to play exhibition games against the hosting opponent. No schedule is out yet, though, so who that could be for Cincinnati is still unknown. The schedule is expected to be out this week.
“We have a handful of guys with out clauses that are the 5th day before Opening Day, we’ll have to make a decision whether we’re going to put a guy on the roster Opening Day or he’s going to take his out – we release him or he’s going to waive his out and stay in the organization,” said Krall. The players who have the out clauses, however, weren’t named. They are all going to be non-roster invitees, though. Some organizations chose to already begin working around that, by releasing players with those clauses, and re-signing them to new deals. Former Red Billy Hamilton was one such player, released and re-signed by the San Francisco Giants yesterday.