The Cincinnati Reds have made their first roster moves of spring training. This afternoon they sent 12 players back to minor league camp.

No one who was on the 40-man roster was optioned today. All 12 of the players who were “cut” were simply reassigned to minor league spring training.

The Pitchers

  • Julian Aguiar
  • Jacob Heatherly
  • Rhett Lowder
  • Zach Maxwell
  • Chase Petty
  • Reiver Sanmartin

Reiver Sanmartin never pitched in a game for the Reds this spring. Last season he had elbow surgery and missed the final five months of the season. There’s no big surprises here. None of the pitchers who got into games were likely playing for a spot on the roster. Outside of Sanmartin, none of that group has pitched in Triple-A, and among the rest only Julian Aguiar has more than eight innings in Double-A.

The Position Players

  • Edwin Arroyo
  • Tyler Callihan
  • Blake Dunn
  • Mat Nelson
  • Michael Trautwein
  • Daniel Vellojin

Much like the group of pitchers, there aren’t too many surprises here with one exception. Blake Dunn was the organization’s minor league player of the year in 2023. He hit a combined .312/.425/.522 last season between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga (and he was significantly better in Chattanooga) with 23 home runs and 54 steals. Dunn also missed the first week of games in spring training, but has gone 4-6 with a double and two walks in his eight trips to the plate since he began playing last week in spring games. With plenty of Double-A experience and performance he was a guy you may have thought would get a little longer look even if it was unlikely he was going to make the club given the current outfield situation.

Edwin Arroyo is the highest rated prospect among this group, but he’s played just over a week in Double-A and as an infielder he’s got a whole slew of players he’d have to pass by to make the club. Right now that’s just not going to be in the cards for him. Tyler Callihan hasn’t exactly hit all that well in the minors, but he did finish 2023 with an .856 OPS in 22 games at the end of the year in Chattanooga. And this spring he’s hit .308/.400/.615 with two walks and just one strikeout in 15 plate appearances. As an infielder, like Arroyo, he wasn’t going to make the club, but he had a strong showing in big league camp.

22 Responses

  1. Optimist

    A big Hmmmmmm about Dunn on this list . . .

    • BK

      For all of these players, including Dunn, this is about getting them playing time. His ST invite was all about getting him exposure to the big leaguers. Being cut doesn’t preclude him (or any of these players) from getting into a big league ST game, but given his lack of time at AAA, his invite was never about giving him a legitimate shot at making the team. That is a good thing, as he can continue to develop in AAA.

  2. docproc

    Wish they had given Dunn a longer/better shot.

    • David

      I think that although he was assigned to the minor league “complex”, he still might show up in more Reds’ Spring Training games. That’s really just the next diamond over.
      I think officially assigning him to the Minors helps slim the roster and get the main guys on the 40 man more playing time. I still think Dunn will get slipped into some games. But he too needs regular work, and not just part time playing in Reds’ games to get ready for the AAA season.
      Rece Hinds and Jacob Hurtubise are on the 40 man roster, and Hurtubise is likely the first “call up” if one of the regular outfielders gets hurt.
      Bubba Thomson is on the 40 man, and is apparently “coveted” by other teams as a spot starter/5th outfielder, so it may depend on how he plays as to whether he sticks. If a player’s spot opens on the 40 man, I would not be surprised if Dunn is added to the 40 man roster. Especially if he starts to really tear up AAA pitching.

      • Optimist

        OK to this, sort of . . .

        Agree that Dunn should be in every game between now and his MLB debut, whether in Arizona or for the Bats. Also, don’t add him to the 40-man until he’s added to the 26-man.

        Still, he and Hurtubise should be after Stu/Barrero as far as ST playing time.

        If India or McLain start on the IL, both Stu and Barrero make the 26-man. After that, it’s Hurtubise and whichever of Dunn or Hinds starts hotter in AAA.

        All others are AAAA trade expendable.

        With all that, it still sounds more like bookkeeping than future planning.

      • LDS

        If Thompson is coveted, trade him for pitching.

      • BK

        @Optimist, it is bookkeeping, and minor league camp is not in full swing. These cuts let top prospects like Dunn, Hurtubise, and Arroyo have a schedule optimized for their development. That can’t happen while they are in major league camp.

      • Melvin

        “If Thompson is coveted, trade him for pitching.”

        Yeah. He shouldn’t be that coveted by the Reds.

      • Optimist

        Good point BK, but MiLB camp opens shortly, correct – so Dunn and others only have a short gap between game action vs. good opposing pitchers, correct?

        The good news, as others have noted, is that the regulars are getting extended time – no more “tryouts and cuts” to the 26-man as we’ve seen in years past, only to be ready for the season to start about 3 weeks into the season. Should be ready, set, go on opening day this year.

        Still, thinking Dunn, Hinds, Hurtubise all debut this year, it’s good for them to face MLB pitchers now.

      • BK

        @Optimist, I don’t know the exact date for the start of the Red’s minor league camp, but it’s likely today as minor league ST games start next week.

    • ChrisInVenice

      Need to get more ABs for the other guys they NEED to make decisions on.

  3. Melvin

    Some of these guys would have gotten longer looks had there been less talent on the roster. They’re not going away or forgotten. Guys like Fairchild and Barrero who will probably make the team will be looking over their shoulder. Should be fun watching minor leagues again this year.

    • BK

      Exactly! This spring, I’ve had to adjust to the realization that our roster doesn’t need any minor leaguer to make the team. It’s been a while since we have been in this situation.

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    Since Dunn is projected to be at triple-A not making the club, I think maybe he was cut to open room for Bubba Thompson to play more games down the stretch and can make a decision abbout him…
    In another aspect, I wonder how is the progression of Pagán and Moll, there is no much info about how they are right now since have to pitch in a game yet…

    • David

      yeah, the remark about Bubba Thompson being “coveted” was probably more sarcasm than what was understood.
      To me, he looks like Billy Hamilton redux. He has never really hit in the Majors, and isn’t going to now. He is fast and can cover ground in CF as a late inning replacement or a spot starter, but he has no real “future” as he is not developing any further.
      It just seemed he went on a couple roster journeys in the off-season.
      Play him more and let us see just how lousy a hitter he is. But yes, he can run and cover CF really well. As I said, Billy Hamilton redux.

  5. Jason Franklin

    So, if Friedl gets injured at some point during the season which is possible with his all-out style of going for it, should we assume Dunn would be brought up to play CF? To me it makes logical sense as they are both the same sort of players. Almost clones (with the hitting average edge probably to Friedl) so it would just be logical right? If I were management, I wouldn’t call him up to be a backup but start him. Keep Fairchild for only one reason and that is the 4th or 5th outfielder. My real thought is how excitging the outfield would be with Dunn, Friedl and Benson/Fraley/Steer in right. Yes, that means someone from the infield glut gets traded to give Steer more chances to play 1b/DH but this could be a way to strengthen the team in many ways.

  6. Jason Linden

    With the minor leaguers who might be close it’s always important to remember that if there’s a real injury, they probably leapfrog Fairchild and company. You don’t have real prospects on the team just to sit them in the bench.

    • Melvin

      If David Bell would let them. Not the usual way he does things. I would think he’d play Fairchild a lot at least.

  7. DHud

    Is Sanmartin healthy? Or just not really a competitive option anymore unfortunately?

    • David

      No, still rehabbing from TJ surgery. I think he got waived by the Reds last fall, claimed, then waived again and the Reds reclaimed him. He may appear in 2024 somewhere, like in AAA to see if he can get in shape to pitch again.

      • BK

        Sanmartin was non-tendered by the Reds—technically, this is different from being waived, as non-tendered players don’t pass through waivers and immediately become eligible for free agency. Two days later, the Reds signed him to a minor league contract.