The Cincinnati Reds announced five roster moves late on Saturday night, but the biggest one was the announcement that the team was committed to adding right-handed reliever Nate Jones to the roster on or before opening day. Jones likely had an opt-out, that he could have taken today – leaving the Reds the choice to add him or not in order to keep him around or allow him to perhaps pursue other opportunities.
For Nate Jones and the Reds, that’s one thing that’s out of the way for them. Jones has a career ERA of 3.12 spanning his eight seasons in the big leagues from 2012-2019, all with the Chicago White Sox. Staying healthy has been an issue for the right-handed reliever. In his first two seasons he appeared in 65 and 70 games, respectively. But in the six seasons since then he’s only topped 20 appearances twice, and only topped 35 appearances once – in 2016.
When he’s been on the mound, he’s been quite good. From 2015-2019, Nate Jones has an ERA of 2.67 in the Major Leagues. That spans 147 appearances and 141.2 innings. He only allowed 107 hits and 49 walks in that stretch, striking out 164 batters along the way. It’s never been an issue of the stuff for the Northern Kentucky (and NKU Norse alumn), it’s been being able to remain healthy enough to stay on the mound.
At times in his career he’s been a strong ground ball pitcher, with three seasons being over 50% (including 2019). For his career he’s averaged 97.3 MPH with his fastball, but in 2019 that was down to 94.9. Earlier this spring he was once again throwing 97, and last week he was sitting 95-97 MPH in an intrasquad scrimmage. If he can remain healthy, and be the guy he’s always been, Nate Jones could be a huge piece of the Cincinnati bullpen in 2020.
The Reds reassign five to the alternate roster
There were five players on the player pool roster that were moved to the “alternate roster” site, which will be at Prasco Park in Mason once the regular season begins. Infielders Derek Dietrich and Alfredo Rodriguez will be heading there, as well relievers Jesse Biddle, Alex Powers, and Ruben Alaniz.
The two infielders come as no surprise. Derek Dietrich just got to Cincinnati this week after testing positive for COVID-19 and being unable to join the team when they returned from the baseball shutdown. He was not expected to be ready to go for Opening Day. Alfredo Rodriguez hasn’t seen much playing time at all during the scrimmages since the team started playing them, which sort of gives you the idea that he wasn’t in contention for a spot right now.
With the relievers it’s been similar to the situation with Rodriguez – none of them had spent a lot of time on the mound in the scrimmages. Both Biddle and Powers pitched Saturday, with Powers tossing a shutout inning with two strikeouts. Biddle allowed a run in his outing.
This was the second set of roster moves this week. The initial roster of 58 players has been trimmed down by 11 over the last 48 hours. There are still 47 players vying for 30 spots on the Opening Day roster. Here’s who is remaining:
|Antone, Tejay||RHP||Barnhart, Tucker||C|
|Bauer, Trevor||RHP||Casali, Curt||C|
|Carpenter, David||RHP||Peña, Francisco||C|
|Castillo, Luis||RHP||Stephenson, Tyler||C|
|De León, José||RHP||Farmer, Kyle||C/INF|
|DeSclafani, Anthony||RHP||Blandino, Alex||INF|
|Garrett, Amir||LHP||Colón, Christian||INF|
|Gray, Sonny||RHP||Davidson, Matt||INF|
|Hendrix, Ryan||RHP||Galvis, Freddy||INF|
|Iglesias, Raisel||RHP||India, Jonathan||INF|
|Jones, Nate||RHP||Moustakas, Mike||2B|
|Lodolo, Nick||LHP||Suárez, Eugenio||3B|
|Lorenzen, Michael||RHP||VanMeter, Josh||INF/OF|
|Mahle, Tyler||RHP||Votto, Joey||1B|
|Miley, Wade||LHP||Akiyama, Shogo||OF|
|Raley, Brooks||LHP||Castellanos, Nick||OF|
|Reed, Cody||LHP||Ervin, Phillip||OF|
|Romano, Sal||RHP||Fairchild, Stuart||OF|
|Santillan, Tony||RHP||Jankowski, Travis||OF|
|Sims, Lucas||RHP||Payton, Mark||OF|
|Smith, Josh D||LHP||Powell, Boog||OF|
|Stephenson, Robert||RHP||Schebler, Scott||OF|
|Strop, Pedro||RHP||Senzel, Nick||CF|
IF: Barnhart, Casali, Votto, Moustakas, Galvis, Suarez, Farmer
OF: Senzel, Winker, Ervin, Castellanos, Akiyama
SP: Castillo, Gray, Bauer, DeSclafani, Miley
RP: Iglesias, Lorenzen, Garrett, Stephenson, Jones, Strop, Reed, Sims
Remaining 6 spots:
IF: VanMeter, Blandino, Davidson
OF: Payton, Schebler, Jankowski
RP: Mahle, Carpenter
The 30 man squad is without a doubt excess. Many pitchers are ready to throw 100 pitches. The Reds plan to go 16 offense/14 pitchers.
They want to gain another year of Mahle. Carpenter is in.
Offensively, infielders and Payton are in. the last offense spot belongs to Schebler or Jankowski. Schebler is better but Jankowski is a great player to use in the 10th inning as a pinch runner. Jankowski is in.
Maybe Bell was just thinking out loud, but he did talk about using both Mahle and Sims as piggyback starters. I think Mahle has a good chance of making the roster in that role. But, also may be one sent down once the roster is trimmed and starters get more comfortable going deeper into games and to keep him on a starter’s workload in case of an injury to rotation.
I think Mahle, VanMeter, Blandino, Payton, and Jankowski round out the roster.
If healthy, I think Schebler wins more games for you off the bench than Mahle does. I agree with Stock, get the extra year out of him
Whatever they start with , these other guys mentioned will be ready to come in-this abbreviated camp will not be enough to get these players everyday ready. I disagree with not keeping Aquino on the initial 30 man- I know he is streaky but how many others in mlb hit 19 hrs in 205 ab’s last year ( and he hit .259).I am glad that they have a ton of arms ready for the pen- I am sure other teams are envious. I loved Senzel’s bomb last night- he looks bigger and will have a big season if healthy. Jones/Carpenter are reclamation projects- if 1 of 2 workout we should be thrilled. I thought Alex Powers threw very well Last night, looks bigger and has a ton of movement with the arm slot. Last year’s Reds minor league reliever of the year will help before the season is over. Big expectations for this team this year!!!
Really happy to hear about Nate Jones. I am really looking forward to having him with the team and see what he can do being healthy finally.