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.