On Sunday afternoon Cincinnati Reds general manager Nick Krall said that outfielder Shogo Akiyama was informed that he would not make the big league roster, first reported by Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer. That leaves open a few potential options. One, Akiyama could be optioned to the minor leagues if he is willing to allow it – but he does have the right to refuse it and become a free agent. The other options would be to, as noted, become a free agent, or for the Reds to find a trade partner who would keep Akiyama on the roster.

It’s that last one that is a tough one to see happening. The soon to be 34-year-old has hit .224/.320/.274 in 142 career games in the big leagues without a home run. He’s only had one month where he’s posted an OPS over .600 in his career. He’s also owed $8M this season, which the Reds have decided that they will just have to eat – but even if they are willing to do so, it’s still tough to see where another team would place him on their active roster given his struggles.

The roster move has not officially been made. But the Reds did make two moves official as they reassigned right-handed reliever Trey Wingenter and catcher Andrew Knapp to the minors. Wingenter was injured last week and will not be ready to begin the season. Knapp lost out the backup catcher job to Aramis Garcia when he went hitless for the spring and Garcia crushed five home runs. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic is reporting that Knapp has an opt-out clause on Monday that he could choose to take if he believes he has a better opportunity somewhere else.

While technically not official because waiver wire claims can and do change things near the end of the spring sometimes, it would seem that Aramis Garcia is going to begin the year as the backup to Tyler Stephenson. He’s the only other catcher remaining in big league camp at this point.


40 Responses

  1. West larry

    I’m surprised that the reds will eat Shogo’s contract, but it’s the right thing to do… now if they would eat Moose’s contract… in my dreams.

    • Tom Reeves

      Moose might have some gas left in the tank, even as a DH. When healthy, Moose can contribute. Akiyama never really was able to play at the MLB level. He had a month or so where the league struggled to figure him out but it did and then he was lost. He was definitely worth giving a try and had he became the OBP machine we hoped, it would have been a great deal. But that’s the risk with Nippon League players.

      At least Akiyama leaves with a lot of money even if things didn’t work out.

    • J

      Moose is 6 for 20 this spring with 3 doubles and a homer. You want them to cut him now just because he’s had a couple bad years while struggling with injuries? If he’s healthy he’s a good option against righties. If he’s injured he can go to the IL and they can bring in a replacement. I don’t see any advantage to cutting him. (Trading him, maybe, but they’re probably not getting a better player in return. All they might be able to do is shed some of his salary.)

      Shogo is in a completely different category, as they have several better options in the outfield and his problems aren’t related to injuries. This is one of the most impressive decisions this organization has made in a while.

    • Jon

      If Moose can come out and play like an All-Star the first half, the Reds just might be able to trade him to a contender to dump his salary (or much of it at least). A huge “if”, but it’s certainly possible provided he can stay healthy.

      • JB

        That’s what I’m hoping and then the FO can get him off the books.

      • MBS

        If Moose is playing like an Allstar then we might be contenders

  2. GreatRedLegsFan

    No way he was going to make the roster after loosing Castellanos, Winker and Suarez.

  3. J

    I think we probably have the Angels to thank for this. If Upton isn’t DFA’d, I don’t know if the Reds would have had the courage to eat an $8 million contract even though it’s obviously the best baseball move. The timing was perfect.

  4. Hotto4Votto

    Appears to be the correct move. Sad things didn’t work out for Shogo, I had high hopes, but it appears the talent gap between the two leagues combined with his age related decline were too much to overcome. He just never got going.

  5. HoF13

    A roster decision based on merit — DOMO ARIGATOU

  6. Mark Moore

    Sometimes things just don’t work out. He does at least walk with $8M in his pocket. Somebody might take a flyer on him. There are teams that need to fill out roster spots and have no hint at contending for anything.

    Wish him the best.

    • MK

      My bet is he becomes a free agent and returns to the Nippon League. He is a star there and will get his US pay and full Japanese pay on top of it. If he signs with a US team he just gets the $8 million and no more. Dick Williams legacy continues to grow.

      • Redsvol

        Agree and good for the front office for acknowledging the elephant in the room. It was clear they weren’t giving him enough playing time to see if things had changed. The decision was probably made before spring training and they just wanted to show him enough to see if another team would bite. He just doesn’t hit the ball with any authority and doesn’t draw walks.

      • 2020ball

        If he signs with a US team he gets his 8MM and whatever the new team signs him for, darn near guaranteed no one picks up his contract.

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree so we move on with hopefully younger guys.

  7. JB

    It’s the right move but I did not think the Front office would do it. Good for them. I hope the next guy is Moran.

  8. LDS

    One question of dozens that has been answered. Frees a roster slot but doesn’t make the Reds a better team, even in a weird way. How about an acquisition or trade that doesn’t net a retread or a has been, or worse a never was and never will be.

    • 2020ball

      I expected them to cut ties with shogo, pham pushed him off the team. Not sure the acquisition youd be looking for, i honestly think they tried to make too many acquistions and shouldve just commited to more of a youth movement. Only option they have now is a trade, and they arent getting ML ready pieces in return.

      • Greenfield Red

        Don’t want ML ready pieces. That is a dead end. Get as many high end guys who are 2 to 4 years away. They had several good rookies last year, more this year and next. De La Cruz, Confidan, Petty, and more a few years away. Add to it. Make a World Series winner in 24 or 25 or 26. That’s the ticket.

      • 2020ball

        Basically do one or the other, the FO just seemed lost this offseason

  9. Maloney63

    Good news about Garcia. He earned it. Knapp hit zilch.

  10. DaveCT

    This is two semi-spectacular whiffs by the Reds. First, they were the one and only team who thought AlfRod would hit. Second they signed Shogo, who also doesn’t hit, even given many more ML teams also thought so. That’s, what, 30 million?

  11. Tomn

    Sorry for Shogo but theo right move by the Reds. Finally! Yes, let Moran be next please. Then add Shrock to the roster if he isn’t already.

  12. Melvin

    AA just hit a grand slam. That’s why you keep him and not Aki. Power is not everything but…..

  13. Tomn

    Shock was lifted in the 2nd inning. Is he OK? Hope so. He deserves to be on this team.

  14. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I was always hopeing Shogo would make it. For, I believe he was the kind of hitter we needed. A slapper, high OBP type of hitter. But, I guess he never could get use to the MLB pitching.

    I will say, I believe he needed more “consistent” time. I mean, did he ever get to start, for example (for the haters, again, for example), 10 games in a row before being rested?

  15. burtgummer01

    Now dump AA and bring back Friedl

    • Jimbo44CN

      UHH are you even paying attention? Check todays box.

      • Doc

        Is that a rhetorical question? Hee hee. Many posts never let facts get in the way of an adopted theory.

        Notice how people who rip DB because he rests guys too soon or pulls them too soon are also the guys who want to dump a player after an inning or two of the first ST game if they didn’t make two game saving plays and send one into the seats.

      • burtgummer01

        Wow he had a good spring game stop the presses !! Plus he has a good month 3 years ago.AA fans are beyond ridiculous

  16. Jimbo44CN

    Not being ridiculous, being realistic. What would you rather, Shogo, (he gone) Moran?
    I know you said Freidel, have nothing against him, but no comparision if AA can put it together. You AA haters are beyond ridiculous.

    • greenmtred

      I’m not an AA hater, and would be delighted (as would all Reds fans) if he “got it” and came close to replicating his magic month. But he has underperformed during the entirety of his professional career–including his time in the minors–and is getting to the age when it seems unlikely that he will change drastically. He’s intriguing, certainly–great power, great arm, decent speed–but he’d be far from the first toolsy player to be unable to put it together. I wouldn’t cut him now, but if the Reds weren’t so thin in starter-quality outfielders, it might be a different story.

      • Melvin

        I’m not sure how some can say he underperformed in the minors. Before his call up in 2019 with the Bats from what I read his stats were, after 78 games and 323 PA: .299/.356/.636/.992 with 28 HR and 53 RBI. I guess one might say for HIM that’s “underperforming”. lol

      • greenmtred

        For his ten-year career in the minors, he hit .248 with an OBP of .310. He had some power, of course. The numbers–to me, at least–do not scream star in the making.

      • Melvin

        Just pointing out that you said, “he has underperformed during the entirety of his professional career–including his time in the minors–”. I wouldn’t include 2019 in that “entirety”. As is often, players progress during their time in the minors. I’d say that year he “figured it out”. As a matter of fact many say he had one good month in 2019. If you include his time in AAA a more accurate statement would be that he had ONE BAD month in that year. Even in that bad month, if projected out over an entire season which of course is approximately six months, he still would have had 30 HR, 84 RBI, and 30 SB. Not too bad for a “bad month”. I’m glad they signed Casty as he was awesome but that didn’t exactly help the confidence of Aquino after the year he had. We had way too many outfielders after that. By the way in his six games he played in AAA last year his stats were .263/.481/.526/1.007. My point is to all this is just let him play as much as possible. Let him get comfortable. Let him get his confidence back. He might just pleasantly surprise a whole lot of people.

    • JB

      “If” he can put it together. Nobody on here wants to see him fail. We all want to see AA succeed, but how long are we to wait for him to figure it out? I know he doesn’t get a lot of playing time but like the Cowboy says ,” when you get your chance you better make the best of it.”

      • Jim Walker

        How long are people willing to wait for Nick Senzel to “stay healthy”? His numbers on the field at MLB when he has been healthy enough to play are not as good as Aquino’s MLB Numbers. And Senzel is only 14 months younger than AA. Just saying.

        There are reasons to be skeptical about the future prospects of both guys. I’d just like to see a more even playing field in looking at their value and ceilings at this point in their careers.

  17. Redgoggles

    I read this as good news, as well as the things Shogo had to say (understanding it’s a results oriented business.) Time to get the young guys evaluated for our next window.