Later today all of the pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Goodyear, Arizona as the Cincinnati Reds kick off the first official day of spring training. Pitchers who are scheduled to participate in the World Baseball Classic next month have already arrived.

There will be 39 pitchers and catchers when spring training begins. 11 pitchers and 3 catchers are non-roster invitees, while there are 22 pitchers and 3 more catchers on the 40-man roster. Two pitchers we know won’t be ready for the start of spring training – Tejay Antone, who suffered a set back and strained his flexor in his return from his second Tommy John surgery, and Vladimir Gutierrez who underwent Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2022 season.

But there are some unknowns, too. Lucas Sims underwent back surgery last summer for a herniated disc and didn’t return to the mound. Tony Santillan also dealt with a back injury last season and didn’t pitch again after mid-June. There hasn’t been much of an update on either player since last season. We’ll find out where they stand once they report.

The top of the rotation, assuming health, should be Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft in some order. It would seem that two sports are up for grabs after that. Who those spots will go to, no one really knows. Luis Cessa, Justin Dunn, Connor Overton, Levi Stoudt, Luke Weaver, Brandon Williamson, Andrew Abbott (NRI), Kevin Herget (NRI), Ben Lively (NRI), and Connor Phillips (NRI) all seem to have an opportunity to go out grab a job.

Some of those guys may also be competing for a spot in the bullpen that seems to have plenty of unknowns beyond just the health status of Sims and Santillan. Young pitchers like Brandon Williamson, Andrew Abbott, Levi Stoudt, and Connor Phillips aren’t likely to move to the bullpen if they don’t win a spot in the rotation as they are likely to be optioned to the minors and continue to start and provide depth while continuing to develop at the Double-A or Triple-A levels.

Position players aren’t scheduled to join the pitchers and catchers until Sunday February 19th. The next day the Reds will have their first full team workout. It will only be a few days after that when games will begin. Cincinnati will face off against Cleveland on Saturday the 25th and then play nearly every day until their final game – also against the Guardians – on the 26th (they will be off on the 2nd, 16th, and 21st of March).

38 Responses

  1. DataDumpster

    From recent trends, it would not be hard to imagine that all 10 of the players mentioned for the last 2 spots will get a decent chance on the MLB roster or be too “injured” to do so. We all hope they don’t have a repeat of last year where 36 or so pitchers were paraded along to lock up perhaps 5-6 spots on the roster. But when proper minor league development is thrown aside and the throwing of the dice/desperation moves dominate, then long term progress gets stymied once again. Can David Bell and company finally find some new “real keepers” on this staff before the ASG?

  2. Harry Stoner

    Tony Santillan, who certainly was considered one of the young pitching Turks a couple years ago seems to have completely fallen off the radar other than appearing on the 40 man roster and these kinds of lists.

    A promising starter, he was maybe a reluctant or emergency move to the bullpen when the Reds’ SP was well stocked.

    Performed well in the BP initially and then went off track. Perhaps the injury was a problem for him before it was fully acknowledged. We’ve seen that all too many times.

    “A lower back injury” is all I’ve ever heard.

    • Tom Diesman

      I’m hoping to soon to hear how Santillan’s health is as well. I feel we have a much more realistic chance of him returning healthy and to form than Antone or Sims who both appeared to have much more serious injuries. I’m hoping he is 100% when he gets to camp and would love to hear that he will be stretched out to compete for the 4th/5th starters spot.

  3. old-school

    Any word on when David Bell and Krall make themselves available to the media? Will it be before Sunday the 19th?

    • Droslovinia

      Any idea when they become available to a bunch of people with torches and pitchforks? Just asking for a friend.

  4. SultanofSwaff

    If Sims and Santillan aren’t healthy and contributing, the first month would feature a whole bunch of sorting in the bullpen and you could easily see a near repeat of last year’s 3-22 start. On the bright side, maybe that’s enough to get Bell fired lol.

    More than anything, this camp needs a sense of urgency. The W-L under Bell’s tenure is a large enough sample size to fairly assert he fails to prepare the team. There needs to be a change in culture. You have to go back 10 years to find a winning first month. Their April records under Bell:
    2-5 (July), 13-15 August

    • old-school

      The 2020 start was particularly bad- They had great talent and pitching and good hitters and were playing a 60 game playoff sprint and started off with the lowly Tigers and couldn’t win the series and fought uphill all 2 months.

    • MK

      I once coached a 5th and 6th grade basketball team. The boys practiced hard, played a nice defense and a smooth offense. When we took the court for the first game our well-oiled machine’s center was shorter than the smallest player on the other team. It didn’t make any difference how well we were prepared, we were out manned.

      Got to believe this is what David Bell, to no fault of his own, faces every day.

      • old-school

        Not in 2020. He had Cy Young ,Luis castillo, Sonny Gray and Tyler mahle plus Iglesias, Sims, and Lorenzen and garrett and added Archie Bradley plus Winker,Suarez, Votto, Castellanos, and Moose and Senzel and farmer were ok too.

  5. RedBB

    Sadly I doubt we see Antone this year or possible next. PRP and Flexor strain are code for UCL is still injured

    • JayTheRed

      My thoughts are that if he can’t come back from this new injury plus the 2 TJ surgeries he won’t be coming back at all.

      I hope he take his time and comes back maybe in August or September to at least get innings pitched. Does Antone have options left. Can he stay in the minors when he comes back to build up his workload even after a rehab assignment?

      • David

        I don’t think we can count on Lucas Sims or Tony Santillan. Just don’t count on them, and then we won’t be disappointed.
        I think TJ Antone’s career is probably over. And that is really sad for this great young guy. He’s got a big heart and will keep on trying, though.

        Williamson has a boatload of arm talent, but he still has to be able to consistently throw strikes. I think he starts the year in AAA.

        Connor Overton might be a part of the rotation if his back is OK.
        Dunn….will he actually be able to pitch innings and his shoulder not act up? He is another guy that may be chronically injured and never actually “make it” in the ML.
        Luis Cessa is a guy that is either going to be starting or in the BP. David Bell remarked last year that he might be better starting, because as a reliever he “overthrew” his breaking ball.
        I think that Kevin Herget may be a long shot, dark horse to make the rotation.

        And as baseball goes, there will be a couple of real surprises, maybe good, maybe bad. And don’t be surprised if one of the talented young guys makes it or is called up early if somebody else falters.
        The problem is that the 40 man is full, but there is not an overwhelming amount of pitching talent besides Lodolo, Greene, Ashcraft (maybe) and Diaz (Who will be in the World Baseball Classic).

      • Jim Walker

        Fangraphs says yes, Antone still has the full complement of 3 annual options.

      • MK

        Have to believe the Driveline approach that made T.J. so successful for a season with increased velocity, 100% effort each pitch with a Tommy John repaired elbow, is the cause of the current problem.

      • Tom Diesman

        Herget is an interesting dark horse for the back end of the rotation. I also think Ben Lively could maybe fill one of those spots. We would have seen him in Cincy last season if not for an elbow strain he suffered in late June last year in Louisville after 13 GS, 62 IP with a 3.77 ERA.

      • DaveCT

        MK, I also think the banning of the sticky stuff may have influenced TJ’s injury, fair or unfair. There was some discussion of guys trying to maintain those high spin rates and getting hurt.

  6. Stock

    The final 2 spots are between Cessa, Overton, Weaver and Dunn. I am rooting for Cessa and Overton. Overton has been impressive in both the majors and minors the last two years. Lets see what he can do and if he can stay healthy. Cessa looked pretty good at the end of the season. He could provide trade value down the streach if he spends the year as a SP.

    • JayTheRed

      Sweet I am on that same bandwagon. If Overton is over his injuries than I would give him a good shot to make the team out of Spring Training.

    • Redsvol

      Stock – I think those 2 have the inside track. Both were pretty good as starters last year. And really, Cessa was just thrown into the fire and asked to start. Hopefully some guys will emerge as competition but I don’t see it changing since they are both on the 40 man…..At least until they go 0-4 with a 7 ERA like SanMartin did last year.

  7. LDS

    It’ll be interesting to watch this all play out, but seeing it described in print is a bit discouraging. Yes, there’s some potential there. However, some of those guys have never thrown a 100 innings in a season. Cessa’s 136 IP several years ago is the most innings by any of these guys. So, unless there’s a Gooden or Fidrych among them, we fans could be in for a very long year.

  8. MBS

    I don’t see how Dunn isn’t a lock for a spot. Don’t get me wrong if we had a competitive group in I could see, but 2 bullpens arms, and a never was vs a guy with MLB success as a starter. It’s not a contest, it’s just a matter of if Dunn is healthy.

    • Harry Stoner

      Considering Dunn hasn’t pitched more than 50 innings in any of his four MLB seasons to date, I’d make sure I had a backup plan for that lock.

      Overton’s injury last season was particularly disheartening as he was putting things together with an alternate pitch mix and approach that would fit in well with the Young Turks.

      Cessa and Weaver seem also like rolling the dice.

      Hard to imagine that Bell hasn’t already made up his mind, though.

      • MBS

        100% agree, we have no MLB quality depth in the rotation. We only have 4 guys who are MLB quality starters, some bullpen conversions, and AAA, and AA hopefuls. The FO really let fans down, again.

        2023 is going to be hard to watch if we’re looking for W’s. Hopefully this is the last year of sorting through what we have, and an actual direction starts playing out on the MLB roster.

        I am hopeful that between Abbott, Williamson, Phillips, Stoudt, and a healthy Gutierrez, we’ll have 1 more starter in 24. Maybe Petty by 25 if he keeps on progressing the way he has.

      • MK

        Harry considering your valid argument I checked the records and Overton’s high in innings pitched is 74 in2021.

      • Optimist

        Dunn is a starter as long as he is healthy, and he’s passable enough for this team. That’s both problems, though, since this team is not that good, and he’s yet to be healthy beyond 8-12 starts.

        I still want Cessa in the bullpen – let Santillan assume the Hoffman role – multi-inning mid game reliever.

      • Optimist

        And scratch a chunk of that comment since Doug’s most recent post notes Santillan is not ready at all. Oy.

  9. CI3J

    As an aside, this is probably the least amount of excitement I’ve ever seen as a Reds fan for pitchers and catchers reporting. In years past it used to be a mini-celebration that baseball was back. Now it’s just “Oh, yeah, by the way, pitchers and catchers reported today. Anyway…”

    • Harry Stoner

      The ballclub didn’t do much to build much excitement coming into the new season.

      All the talk seemed to be about the limits and budget restrictions and “creative moves” and not much of an effort to build enthusiasm.

      If the talk is always ’25! or ’26! or ’28! it’s hard to get excited about ’23!

      Especially with the seeming consensus being that ‘if you’re not in the playoffs, then what’s the point?’

      I’m pretty excited to see how the SP works out. And if they can field a healthy team.

      The BP appears to be another trainwreck in the making despite a few improvements.

      Having to endure another season of Bell’s ‘managing’ and inane post game interviews does take some of the fun out of things, though.

      • Votto4life

        Well, when the CFO meets with one of the longest standing fan organizations in the country and tells them that the Reds are out of it even before opening day, you can’t expect much excitement.

        Who in their right mind, trying to sell a product, would make that type of statement?

    • Melvin

      We definitely have to find our own excitement just from baseball itself. If we wait and depend on this ownership for that it just ain’t happenin. They’re pathetic. Fortunately baseball is still baseball.

  10. JayTheRed

    That is because, almost everyone realizes this team has little chance to be even a winning team this year. Playoffs would be a moon dream. Really the best we can hope for is maybe winning 70 game and some of the young guys developing into quality MLB players.

    The one thing I am anxious about is to see how all these new rules play into pitching and batting stats this year.

  11. MK

    Looking at the 40-man and the invitations there are 12 former first round picks and 9 2nd round picks in Reds ST camp.

  12. redfanorbust

    I am wondering what others think about the WBC. Is having MLB players play in it
    really worth the risk? Some teams risk so much especially if they are on fringe to make the playoffs. This must secretly dive owners and management crazy.

  13. Votto4life

    So glad baseball is back. I feel really bad for Tejay. He could have really helped this team.

    • Votto4life

      For some reason, TeJay reminds me of former Red Scott Foster. Looked like he had a brilliant career in front of him before he was injured. Such a shame.

      • DaveCT

        Stephen Foster? He if one of the best baseball anecdotes I’ve heard.

        When entering Canada to play Montreal, he was asked if he had anything to declare, and answered “I’m proud to be an American!”

  14. DataDumpster

    There will be some interest in the sorting and really following the “new” management strategy to see if that leads to some above board development surprises.
    As for the ownership, I think their priority was landing the MGM betting location in the “Machine Room.” I think it is a rather reprehensible decision for the guys in charge to let this happen. Just like Robinhood, Crypto and the like, lots of young men are going to succumb to the addiction. MLB, the team owners, and the state governments are no doubt salivating at the (enjoyable for many) enticement of enjoying some drinks with some skin in the game to cheer for, with the option to stay in your seat for free or go see the actual game if it turns in your favor. Call 800-TOO-LATE to nurse your losses compliments of the sponsors if the worm against you.