If you somehow missed the news, the Cincinnati Reds traded Sonny Gray to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon for prospect Chase Petty. That opened up another spot in the rotation, leaving Cincinnati with two of them after moving Gray in a trade and losing Wade Miley on waivers to the Chicago Cubs earlier in the offseason. With two spots up for grabs the internal options must be salivating at being able to grab the opportunity presented to them.

Added to the 40-man roster in November, right-handed pitcher Hunter Greene is coming off of a strong season that was split between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville in 2021. After missing the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery and then spending the 2020 season at the Reds alternate site with the minor league season cancelled, Greene got back on the mound in 2021 and posted a 3.30 ERA over 21 starts and 106.1 innings pitched. The then 21-year-old allowed just 86 hits, walked just 39 batters, and he struck out 139 opposing hitters.

“We’re all excited to see Hunter,” said Reds manager David Bell. “He’s healthy, had a full season last year. We know what he’s capable of, the kind of person he is, the kind of talent he is. I believe he’s ready. This creates even more of an opportunity for Hunter. Hunter just has to go out and be himself, do his thing, and that’ll take care of itself. We’re looking forward to seeing him pitch and seeing where he is.”

Greene isn’t the only highly touted prospect vying for a spot in the Cincinnati rotation. Left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo has looked good in the early parts of camp (he was a non-roster invitee and was also in early minor league camp, so he’s been pitching in Goodyear for a few weeks now). In 2021 when he was on the mound, he dominated to the tune of a 2.31 ERA in 13 starts between Double-A and Triple-A. The problem was that he simply wasn’t on the mound much. He missed over a month while dealing with blisters – an issue he and the Reds believe they have figured out and shouldn’t be an issue moving forward – and then he missed the final month of the season with a shoulder issue.

“Nick had a little bit of a set back from a health standpoint (last year),” said Bell. “I saw him pitch, I saw him yesterday or the day before and he looks completely healthy. He’s going to get an opportunity. Another guy that it doesn’t have to happen Opening Day – but it could. It absolutely could. We’ll just see where he is and just kind of evaluate that over the next couple of weeks.”

Unlike Greene, Lodolo isn’t on the 40-man roster. The left-hander didn’t need to be added this offseason like Greene did, but right now there is no roster crunch, either. After trading away Sonny Gray the Reds now only have 37 players on the 40-man roster. That may change with more trades or free agent signings, but there’s more than a little wiggle room when it comes to open spots to add players to the team if they impress this spring.

23 Responses

  1. Bdh

    I feel pretty good about a front 4 of

    Who is on the short list for 5th starter along with Greene? Lodolo, Ashcroft, Santillan, and Hoffman? If that’s the case I’d prefer to keep the latter 2 in the pen and whoever has a best spring between the three prospects gets the spot

    • CFD3000

      I’m not sold on SanMartin just yet. Two good starts is a very small sample size, and both against the Pirates isn’t much better than finishing with two good starts at AAA. And maybe it’s just me but I prefer Santillan in the rotation over Guerrero. Longer term I’m expecting Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft to bump out everyone not named Castillo or Mahle.

  2. Old-school

    Ashcraft dominated AA and has the innings mileage and has been in camp awhile throwing. Id like to see him at least start as SP5 and see what he does if he throws well in ST

    Lodolo doesnt have the innings mileage and needs AAA awhile

    Greene might be there but he is like barrero and india and Stephenson…,once he comes up … its for good

    Give greene 8 starts in AAA and if hes ready mid May- bring him up.

    Im encouraged with the young pitching. Bullpen. … ugggh

    • David

      Old-school, I think you are about spot on on all three pitchers.

      I think Lodolo did not have enough innings last year in AAA. Greene could be ready…soon. May, June.
      Ashcraft….why not? See how he does in Spring Training.

      Additionally, Sanmartin did pitch in Winter Ball, and is probably going to be ready sooner than others. He had two starts against the Pirates last September and looked good. Was that real or just an illusion?

      • Old-school

        Go with the young guys?

        Lots of reds morose but I was there last may when no bullpen fix and Akiyama and Moose contracts became what they were- dead money. Its time to pivot and build with the young guys. Get younger and build for the future ASAP

      • Optimist

        We’re going to see SanMartin, Hoffman, O’Brien and hopefully Santillan getting starts until June 1. Please exceed the performance of Davis, Lamb, Reed and the crew from 2016-2019

      • MBS

        I’m hoping Sanmartin gets the 4 spot out of Spring. HG, NL, and GA all probably need time in AAA. I wouldn’t be surprised if the red pick up a Hoffman type reclamation project to take the last spot. Maybe even Hoffman himself. I doubt O’Brien gets a shot. I hope they leave Santillan in the pen. He could be a 8th inning guy, maybe even closer.

      • Melvin

        I agree. Santi is the closer in my book right now.

    • Bdh

      It isn’t saying much but I’d take the potential bullpen this year over what started the year last season

    • Alan Horn

      I agree. Neither Greene or Lodolo have mastered AAA yet. Could they quickly the first part of the season? Maybe. At this point it is a reach, but definitely could happen. On the other hand, they both could be messed up both mentally and physically if they are rushed. Ohio is not the best place to be pitching in cold weather. My position is to not rush them. There is no need since the Reds don’t much chance of producing a winner this season.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    Of course he’s going to say Greene is ready, they literally have no one else to fill out the rotation.

    The front office had better get some rotation insurance if anything just to protect these young arms.

    Trading Gray was my number one off season to do item, now it’s time to take care of the second– signing the core to extensions.

    • JoshG

      hoffman and Lively are supposed to be the insurance, but there are what? 8 young guys that’ll be battling for those last two spots

  4. Andy

    Now that Reds traded a starter, and Bell said “he’s ready” in March… Greene has ammo to file a grievance if they manipulate his service time by holding him back until May. This is very sensitive issue for players right now. I think he’s on opening day rotation.

    • MuddyCleats

      Will the team need a 5th starter early in the season? Most don’t! Likewise, Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft were all shutdown last year w/ arm issues. I wouldn’t be in any hurry to promote any of them considering the team is no where near ready to compete for a playoff spot. As things R right now, this team is planning for 2023 & 24 when all 3 should be ML ready and in the rotation.

  5. DataDumpster

    Well I am not surprised that David Bell used his “happy warrior” talk in his first appearance. How can someone say “I think he’s ready” before even seeing him pitch? Well, the question is rather moot since there are a number of good arms competing for this spot. The more relevant issue is about David Bell himself: “Is He ready”. Seems like the bar is set to better the very mediocre first year record of 75 wins.

    • LDS

      75 over/under, unless something changes or the team has a lot of peak performances, I’m taking under. Too many unfilled holes. JV, a year older. No one can hit LH’ers. Before trading Gray, Krall said they were looking to fill out the rotation. Now the mantra is the young guys are ready. It’s not a message that inspires confidence, any more than the Farmer is the SS and the OF is Winker, Naquin, and Senzel. And two of them can’t hit LH’ers. Senzel can’t stay on the field long enough to find out. And none of the three have a healthy full season under their belts.

  6. burtgummer01

    And the sad thing is by the time Moneybags Nob finishes dumping salary the Reds will be an awful team (90-100 losses) but some not smart people will blame Bell for the terrible team

  7. old-school

    Bengals just spent $40 million on a right guard the minute FA opened. thats how you do it.

    • west larry

      that’s probably 35 million more than the reds will add to payroll for the entire year.

    • Grand Salami

      2 new OL for the Bengals who have more cap room than any playoff team and third or fourth most in the league. Probably no other big outside signings, just re-signings, we’ll see.

      They are entering a renaissance.

  8. KG

    A lot of depth in the rotation. Not sad about getting rid of Gray and getting a 1st round pick in return. I think we’re going to have a solid season and make the playoffs. GO REDS!