The Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster isn’t official yet, but manager David Bell did inform several players that they have made the team today. Outfielder Travis Jankowski, infielder/outfielder Josh VanMeter, infielder/catcher Kyle Farmer, and reliever Cody Reed were all told that they’ve made the roster, as first reported by C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. There was also one other move announced, and it’s official – the team has returned outfielder Mark Payton to the Oakland Athletics as the Rule 5 pick was not going to make the team.
Kyle Farmer and Cody Reed making the roster seemed like guarantees heading into camp as long as both of the players were healthy. Farmer can play everywhere, seems to be the backup shortstop, and he can be an emergency catcher which would allow the team to use either Tucker Barnhart or Curt Casali as a pinch hitter on days that they aren’t catching. For Reed, when he’s been healthy the last few seasons he’s been pretty good – and just as importantly at times, he’s out of options.
Josh VanMeter is fairly versatile, having the ability to play first base, second base, third base, and the corner outfield spots. The left-handed hitter has shown plenty of success against right-handed pitchers in the big leagues, and last season in the minors he raked against left-handed pitchers, too. But he was battling with several others for one of the utility spots available on the team and wasn’t a sure thing to make the roster at the onset. Likewise, Travis Jankowski was fighting for maybe one spot in a very crowded outfield that already included Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos, Shogo Akiyama, and Jesse Winker. Phillip Ervin could also be in the mix, and he is also out of options – something that could come into play here.
There’s going to be more moves coming soon. The Reds 60-man player pool is now down to 55 players after losing Derek Dietrich (opt-out), Scott Schebler (designated for assignment), and Mark Payton in the last several days.