The Cincinnati Reds have once again trimmed down their spring training roster. Earlier today Josh Harrison opted to become a free agent when he was informed he would not make the opening day roster. A few hours later the club announced that they had reassigned pitchers Justin Bruihl, Tyler Gilbert, and Brooks Kriske, along with utility-man Tony Kemp to minor league camp. Those moves put Cincinnati’s spring training roster at 36 players – including TJ Friedl and Alex Young, who will begin the season on the injured list.

Tyler Gilbert had pitched well this spring. The 30-year-old left-handed pitcher allowed two earned runs in 6.0 innings (3.00 ERA) while walking one batters and striking out nine. He only pitched in four games, and hadn’t pitched since a shutout inning against Cleveland on March 10th.

Like Gilbert, Brooks Kriske had pitched well in his limited spring training action. The 30-year-old righty appeared in five games and allowed two runs in 5.0 innings (3.60 ERA) while striking out seven batters and walking no one. In his last outing, on March 14th, he allowed a run on two hits against the Texas Rangers.

Justin Bruihl had struggled a bit. He pitched in six games this spring with the big league club and allowed five runs in 6.1 innings (7.11 ERA). The 26-year-old righty had given up nine hits, walked two, and struck out just three of the 29 hitters he saw this spring.

Tony Kemp was the only position player reassigned to minor league camp today. He had hit well in his 23 plate appearances. Kemp was 7-21 (.333 batting average) with a double, triple, home run, and two walks. His OPS was 1.010 in his eight games that he played in. During his eight games he played second base in seven of them. Only in his last game, on March 16th, did he play somewhere else – he was in left field on that day.

44 Responses

  1. LDS

    So 8 more cuts and a couple to the IL? Plus any adjustments for acquisitions.

    • Jason Franklin

      I don’t think they will be making any important acquisitions. Got a feeling that the budget is mostly set except for low-cost guys in that 1-2 million range. Maybe they surprise us with some risky/high-reward moves like a trade for someone, but I don’t think that will be happening.

      • Mike

        I think you’re right, unfortunately.

    • Jim Walker

      Over on X (FKA Twitter) there is chatter that Ashcraft, Benson, and Fairchild have been told they have made the team.

      I recall one season when somebody who had gotten this word ended up at AAA because of a late waiver award or some such. However, barring something like that the rotation and position sides would look close to set.

      Interestingly enough Bell apparently indicated Benson and Fairchild both got the good word ahead of the Friedl injury.

      https://twitter.com/m_sheldon/status/1769838111855427739

      • Jason Franklin

        Unless something else happens on the acquisition front, I would assume the Reds go with Fairchild as the man guy in CF. I would like to see one of the kids get a chance though.

      • Hotto4Votto

        IIRC It was Todd Frazier. Was told he made the team and the Reds added a guy late off waivers.

      • mac624

        Mark Sheldon is a good follow on X. Lots of good information coming through him.

  2. IndyDoug

    so 2 spots left. Gotta believe Martini with his pop, is 1 of them.

    • J

      I agree .. Thought they’d almost HAVE TOO keep Kemp IF/OF with TJ hurt , Harrison opting out , Marte suspension .. Mike Ford & Nick Martini can cause the same as Fraley & Benson in RF … Benson will see time in CF I’m sure but I’d much rather a Blake Dunn be on this team !! Lol

      • David

        Blake Dunn ended the 2023 season at AAA, but actually played very little there. Also, he is NOT on the 40 man roster, as of now.
        So I think he should get at least 100 AB’s in AAA and maybe get his timing, hitting and get rolling.
        In the meantime, maybe by the end of Spring Training, if Friedl or Alex Young goes on the 60 day DL, or somebody else goes there, then there may be room on the 40 man for Blake Dunn.
        You’ve gotta think that Management is looking very hard at who to use in CF, beside (likely) Fairchild and Benson. If they don’t workout, what is Plan B? Hurtibise and/or Dunn?
        I think Fairchild can do fine as a CF, but don’t know if he will hit if given the job for an extended time (He might). I think Benson can hit, but not sure if he will be even “adequate” as a defensive CF.

      • David

        Hmmm…I thought he got a promotion to AAA before the season ended. Well, anyways, my thoughts still stand.
        Dunn had a lot of injuries that kept him off the field for a couple of years, so ended up playing “old’ for Low A, High A and then even AA last year, so he might not be quite as good as we might think.
        But I will lay odds that if he does well in AAA this spring, he gets put on the 40 man and we see him in Cincy…..if Friedl is slow to heal and recover.

      • greenmtred

        Doppelganger, alter ego or appropriator of identities, but you aren’t the J we know.

  3. Jason Franklin

    What is wrong with letting Dunn start the season as the starter for the Reds in CF? Let him play up here instead of in AAA. If the Reds would say that Dunn is the man until Friedl gets back, then why not? And if Dunn does a good job while covering for Friedl, it makes for a good problem to have once Friedl comes back.

    • Jimbo44CN

      I’d rather see Hurtabise. In what little I saw of him this spring, I really liked what I saw. Great hustle, fast, and can hit. Seems like a guy that would have a good OBP,

      • Jason Franklin

        I would agree about Hurtabise, but I think the Reds get all extra excited about anyone who has more “tools.” The main tool that delineates Dunn from Hurtabise is Dunn’s power. I get what you are saying though. The Reds need some OBP guys to help balance out that high K rate.

    • greenmtred

      Might harm his development, I would suppose.

    • DaveCT

      I think there is one overall reason, and that is to set Dunn up to succeed and not to fail.
      Jumping from A/AA in 23 to the ML’s is a big jump. It’s likely thought to let him get time AAA at bats, especially against the non stop bevy of breaking stuff the veteran arms will deal him, and see how well he starts there rather than risk him facing the ungodly stuff in the majors and do a Barrero or a Senzel.

    • mac624

      But if he stinks up the joint, which is likely since he has 0 ABs above AA, then his confidence is tanked and the forum will turn him into the next whipping boy. Best to just let him progress naturally. If he rakes in AAA like he did last season, then he will be with the Reds by the end of the season and for the playoff run.

  4. Pete

    I posted this once but will again: Benson, Fraley and Fairchild are not adequate defensively in centerfield. Ran the numbers from fangraphs and projected over 100 games this is the defensive runs saved (drs) for each:
    Benson -30
    Fraley -17
    Fairchild -3

    For a position that is critical defensively these numbers are not acceptable. Nor would they be for shortstop or second base in my mind. Really would like to see them start Blake Dunn in centerfield for the next seven spring training games and let’s see what happens. Otherwise they’re going to have to make a trade or waiver claim.

    It also looks like Spencer Steer and Jonathan India will be asked to play corner outfield spots making it even more imperative the Reds have a true centerfielder.

    • MBS

      The lineup tonight is full of CF contenders, Hurtubise LF, Martini DH, and Fairchild CF.

      • Jason Franklin

        Martini should not come anywhere close to CF. The only player who can pull off CF currently is Fairchild and that is average on a good day.

        I would like to see Hurtubise or Dunn be the starter there to begin the season. Let them play.

    • DaveCT

      From BA:

      “Benson primarily has played right field in the minor leagues but is capable of playing all three outfield positions and did so in Cleveland. His arm strength and speed make him a solid defender.”

      So, on the contrary, there is no reason why Benson cannot fill in in CF until Friedl’s return. Further, Benson can slide to right when Fairchild is used as a later inning defensive replacement.

    • Tom Diesman

      Even if put any stock in defensive metrics, which I don’t, projecting small sample sizes does not seem to be the way to go:

      From Fangraphs: “DRS isn’t going to work well in small sample sizes, especially a couple of months or less. Once you get to one and three-year samples, it’s a relatively solid metric but defensive itself is quite variable so you need a good amount of data for the metrics to become particularly useful.”

      Not to mention that Fairchild’s -3, if from a valid sample, essentially says that he’s an average CF.

      Defensive Ability DRS
      Gold Glove Caliber +15
      Great +10
      Above Average +5
      Average 0
      Below Average -5
      Poor -10
      Awful -15

  5. Optimist

    If they are going to have a CF problem it will be in July. Fairchild and Benson are good thru April, and generally OK in smaller parks. I’d expect Hurtubise in May if anyone else is on the IL and as they need help in bigger parks. By June they should know about Friedl, and if all that fails they have a problem going into July. If Dunn is very good in AAA thru May he’ll get his chance. Otherwise, trade or struggle.

    Farichild should be fine, but they cannot afford 2 holes in the lineup AND defensive questions.

  6. DaveCT

    Re the Williamson injury. Is it me or does the fact he spent the winter working on increasing fastball velocity make the shoulder soreness more worrisome? I’d been wondering where he’d been this spring, too. Seems like awhile since we’d seen him. I thought he might have been pitching in minor league games to get his work in. But now, I half suspect he’s been dealing with the shoulder for a bit as well.

  7. Tom Diesman

    So basically it appears that the opening day roster is pretty much set after these cuts barring a new acquisition or someone being called back.

    Ford gets Marte’s 40 man spot once he’s placed on suspended list.

    Catcher:

    Tyler Stephenson
    Luke Maile

    PJ Higgins – Reassigned to minors
    Austin Wynns – Injured – DL or Reassigned to minors and DL

    Infielders:

    Jonathan India
    Christian Encarnacion-Strand
    Matt McLain
    Jeimer Candelario
    Elly De La Cruz
    Mike Ford

    Outfielders:

    Spencer Steer
    Stuart Fairchild
    Will Benson
    Jake Fraley
    Nick Martini

    TJ Friedl – Injured – DL

    Starting pitchers:

    Frankie Montas
    Hunter Greene
    Graham Ashcraft
    Andrew Abbott
    Nick Martinez

    Brandon Williamson – Injured? – DL or Optioned to Minors

    Nick Lodolo – Injured – DL

    Bullpen:

    Alexis Diaz
    Emilio Paga?n
    Lucas Sims
    Brent Suter
    Buck Farmer
    Fernando Cruz
    Justin Wilson
    Tejay Antone

    Tony Santillan – Reassigned to Minors

    Sam Moll – Injured? – DL
    Ian Gibaut – Injured – DL
    Alex Young – Injured – DL

    • AllTheHype

      Sounds reasonable. Although I wonder if Abbott will be optioned and they add another reliever. Could be that the 5th starter is skipped first time thru then Lodolo pitches in that spot in the 2nd week.

    • AllTheHype

      Well never mind on that. Didn’t realize only 1 off day in first 7 days of season. Still could be Lodolo over Abbott, but I doubt it now.

  8. GreatRedLegsFan

    Friedl and Marte out of the picture for the time being. Montas has 9.39 ERA in 7.2 IP (IL?). Candelario has .287 OPS in 25 AB (?). McClain has .071 OPS in 13 AB (optioned to AAA?).

    • Westfester

      Spring Training stats are meaningless. Remember when Brandon Larson use to hit .400 in SP, then turned into a pumpkin the moment the real season started?

    • docmike

      Good thing spring training stats are absolutely worthless, right?

  9. Laredo Slider

    Reds have major holes in the OF. Playoff contenders have at least one, maybe more, All Star type outfielders. Reds aren’t close to that level. Huge problem moving forward.

    • tim

      kyle lewis, american league rookie of the year in 2020, is a free agent -a right handed hitting centerfielder. could be worth looking into…

      • Mauired

        Excellent idea. If Jo Adell former top 10 pick from Kentucky with loads of potential and out of options gets cut by Angels, I would love for Reds to take a shot. Could be another Benson pickup.

      • DaveCT

        Kyle Lewis has played 18, 58, 36, 64, 63, and 16 games over the last six years sadly, he’s a DH at best and, even then, cannot stay on the field. Too bad. Super talented.

  10. Mike W

    I can never quite understand the limitations we put on ourselves. Not run like a business at all.
    For instance, we just sent Gilbert and Kristie down. Combined they appeared in 9 games, throw 11 innings, gave up 4 runs, 3.27 ERA, walked 1 and struck out 16!
    How does that make sense? Who has done better? No one. Who could ask for better when pitching our 6-8th innings?!
    I’m not certain, but I would doubt we have 2 other pitchers who have pitched better for us this Spring? Why do we get rid of the people playing the best and keep the players who aren’t?
    How does that make sense? Ride the hot hand!
    We invited them to Spring training, they performed really well, so we send them away. They’re 30 year old veterans and pitching well. So they will not be content to stay in the minors. Some other team will snatch them up shortly. If Opening Day was this week, they should be on our roster. They earned it.
    And what message does that send? Pitch well and you get sent down. Pitch mediocre or poorly and youre on the Big League roster.
    Reds, if it ain’t broke……..Or, leave well enough alone. Or, reward those who play well, and make others earn a spot. (It’s bad management that can’t find a way to keep veterans playing better than most on our roster.
    Like I’ve said for 10 years: Red’s management knows baseball, but they don’t know people. They don’t know how to motivate, encourage, incitivize players. In fact they do just the opposite. They make our players anxious about making a mistake. They demoralize players by when they take them out. Our team continues to be mentally fragile. Champions are those that are mentally strong and optimistic. Red’s pitchers need to feel like the nasty Boys in 1990 (Charlton, Dibble then Myers), rather than afraid to make a single mistake pitch or even have an error occur behind them — because they know Bell is coming with the Hook, the moment that happens. Put the guys who are performing well in and let them pitch through good times and tough times. Red’s management should stay seated and encourage them to take adversity on! There’s no way a Nasty Boy would have been pulled if he walked a batter or two. He knew that inning was his — he owned it — and his team was counting on him and his manager had confidence in him That’s not the case now, but it can be!

    • Chris

      I can’t believe you typed that much about something you appear to know very little about. This team is a playoff caliber team. You don’t make decisions off a few games in Spring Training, much less pitchers who have built much of their stats later in the game against minor leaguers this spring. Yeah, let’s ignore their career so far, and make a BUSINESS DECISION based on a few spring training appearances. Wow!!!

    • docmike

      Making roster decisions based on spring training stats, instead of how a player has performed in the regular season in the past, would be a quick way for a GM to get fired.

      Again, spring training stats are worthless. The primary goal is to get yourself ready for the season, not to toss a 1.00 ERA in Feb/March.

  11. Mike W

    Good evening Chris. Our favorite team has been a “playoff caliber team” 3 of the last 5 years, but a management has prevented them from winning enough games each time. When the Warriors rest Curry, and the 5 that are in are increasing the Warrior’s lead, Kerr smartly leaves Currie out a bit longer than normal. That’s good management. Naming Montas the Opening Day pitcher two weeks ahead of time was deflating to the other starters. Not good management. Could have waited a week longer and still set up the rotation. All I was saying was why send the pitchers performing the best over the last two weeks down now? Repeating what he (Bell) has done the last few years and expecting different results (aka making the playoffs!) is well, bad management. Bell’s managerial record is 333/375 (.470). He shouldn’t have kept his job, but since he did he could change things up. If he’s limiting pitchers to 100 pitches, maybe he should have them throw a few less warmup pitches in the bullpen before starting or 2 less pitches between innings? If he has 3 RPs pitching well the last week of March, maybe he has them each pitch 3 innings in the 3rd game of this season, since we have 7 games in the first 8 days? I don’t have all the ideas, but I know doing the same and expecting different results is well, you know. We didn’t change the Manager, so the Manager needs to change the way he manages. ? My Dad’s followed the Reds for 80+ years, me for 60+ and my son for 25+. I’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly. I invited Johnny bench to my wedding, personally got JB’s, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Pete Rose and Sparky Anderson’s signatures at the World Series in the 70’s, have the uniform Joey Votto wore replicating that worn in the 1919 World Series Reds vs the “Black Sox” and have a 6’ tall Mr. Red bobble head from the Red’s HOF museum in my foyer, and have a Cincinnati Red’s golf bag. I have watched every inning of every game the last 5 years. Yes, I’ve got it bad ? and since we’re stuck with Bell, I just want him to try a few different things this year with all the talent we have (like bunting). I appreciate your time and thoughts. Have a good evening. Lets go Reds!

    • greenmtred

      It could be reasonably argued that injuries–not management–prevented them from making the playoffs. This was almost certainly the case last season: McLain was probably their best all around hitter, and they lost him. But even worse was what happened to the starting rotation. Yet they almost made it. Several of the other years were doomed by historically bad bullpens–yes, that can be blamed on management.

    • BK

      Didn’t Friedl have the most bunts in MLB last season? Didn’t the Reds bring Brett Butler to work with the team on bunting? Why are you citing bunting as something different for the Reds to try?

      Also, The Golden State Warriors are in tenth place in the Western Conference. Steph Curry is phenomenal. I’m not sure what he has to do with naming Montas the opening-day starter or how you know it was deflating for the other starters.

  12. Mike W

    Shorter version: I’ve seen 3,000 Major League games with countless managers and players. Some win with high priced talent (Yanks), some lose with high priced talent (Yanks). Some win with low priced unknown talent (Oakland A’s and Billy Ball). Managers of the Year winners are good indicators of those who find a way to win.