The Cincinnati Reds have made three more roster cuts today. The club sent infielder Mike Ford, reliever Tony Santillan, and catcher Michael Trautwein to minor league camp. None of the three players were on the 40-man roster, so all three were reassigned to the minor leagues. Update: Mike Ford has been granted his release, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

That puts the roster at 32 players, but that number includes Nick Lodolo, Brandon Williamson, Ian Gibaut, Alex Young, Sam Moll, Matt McLain, and TJ Friedl. 32 players, subtracting seven who will begin the season on the injured list, puts you at 25 players. There are still three games remaining this spring. Things could happen between now and Opening Day in those games that could rearrange the roster. And there’s still the waiver wire that could be used to pick someone up who is let go by another team that could change things, too. But without injury or acquisitions, the Reds roster seems set for Opening Day minus one addition of a position player.

C. Trent Rosecans of The Athletic notes that manager David Bell said the final bench spot could come from someone inside of or outside of the organization. That’s not all that helpful, but he’s not incorrect with the idea, either. You don’t know who will show up on the waiver wire over the next few days. If someone better than your potential internal options you’ve already sent back to minor league camp doesn’t show up, then you bring someone back into the fold from within.

Spring training performance doesn’t count. We know that because two of the players sent down to minor league camp were utterly dominant this spring. Last night saw Mike Ford homer twice. In his 35 plate appearances this spring he hit .455/.486/.737 – good for an OPS of 1.213. Oh, and he struck out just three times. It’s hard to do better than that. But it wasn’t enough for him to earn a spot on the 26-man roster.

Tony Santillan pitched in six games. He allowed two hits, no earned runs, no walks, he didn’t hit a batter, and he struck out 11 of the 21 hitters that he faced. He did not make the team.

It’s not surprising that Michael Trautwein didn’t make the club. He hit .154 this spring and he has no experience above the Double-A level. And even in High-A and Double-A he was splitting time last year with other catchers. Trautwein was in camp to provide the team with enough catchers until that point in time was no longer needed. He’ll head back to the minor leagues and continue his development with the outlook of returning to the big league clubhouse down the line.

This article was updated at 2:05pm ET on Friday with more information on Sam Moll heading to the injured list and a note from David Bell about the final spot on the roster.

55 Responses

  1. Dan

    What?? Ford and Santillan cut? I know spring training stats don’t matter much, but I thought they mattered a LITTLE bit!!

    So who’s on the roster who we thought would get cut/sent down? Martini and… a pitcher I’m not thinking of?

    • Jason Franklin

      I thought Bell and Krall said that it was an open spring where the best players would make the team. I assumed that was based on positives they did during March? I guess it was only based on what the experts running the team thought were ALREADY the best players. Santillan should have made the team, no doubt. There is some arguement that Martini had to make it over Ford due to his defensive versatility but it still stinks for the man.

      • Luke J

        Don’t feel bad for Ford. Veterans like him sign those minor league deals with an option for free agency so they can use spring training to get a contract. His audition went well and he got his free agency. He likely earned himself some money.

    • IndyRedsFan

      I’ve been thinking that the loss of Friedl would give Bubba Trammel a spot, given he is a true center fielder. He’s also on the 40 man, so they don’t need to drop someone to add him, as they would with Santillan and Ford.

      Santillan is on a minor league contract now….so they can send him to the minors without putting him thru waivers. (he signed a minor league deal after they released him from the 40 man sometime last year)

      • Dennis Westrick

        Thanks for the contract update on Santillan! Hoping he will be a contributing member of the Reds bullpen sometime this season!

    • BK

      All of the players you mentioned are on minor league contracts. Adding any of them requires taking someone else off the 40-man roster. The Reds haven’t “lost” the ability to add any of these three. However, they have given themselves the flexibility of adding from outside if a better option becomes available.

  2. Dan

    And wait… I just read something saying Santillan is out of options. Does this move mean we are likely to lose him?

    Maybe I’m missing something…

    • MK

      Since he is t on the 40 man he is not being optioned. He is just being reassigned since he is on a minor league contract.He had the option last fall to become a free agent to sign a big league contract with someone. If that had happened then the option would have come into play,

  3. LDS

    Apparently, the Reds prefer Martini to Ford as well. Still time to make a move, but I’m guessing that Krall and company are “happy” with the roster. Certainly, it’s very affordable.

  4. MBS

    Are we already past Ford’s opt out date? If so, then maybe they are keeping him in AAA until they make a 60 day IL call on Friedl.

    The 40 man is full of guys I don’t want to lose, so if this is the plan them it makes sense to me. I’d expect Ford up soon if I’m right, he seems more valuable than a AAA reserve.

    • MBS

      if this is the plan “then” makes sense to me.

      I’d love to be able to edit posts, I usually leave my typo’s alone, but it would be a nice feature to have.

  5. BhamRedsFan

    That’s 14 pitchers, I thought the limit was 13?

  6. Dennis Westrick

    Seriously, Doug? “Spring Training Performance doesn’t count”? Then why have spring training at all? Sending Ford & Santillan both back down to the minors makes no sense to me! But, these types of roster move ARE consistent with the current Reds management team! Let’s keep players on the ML roster who are hitting close to the Mendoza line and pitchers who’s SO to walks ratio is less than one (1)! I hope both of them are back up with the big club soon!

    • Doc

      So, should they keep Santillan and send Greene down? Logical extension of your post.

    • BK

      Piling on to Jason’s comments below … I wish I had the time to go through past spring training stats and show all of the outliers–players who had outstanding Springs, only to be cut by mid-April due to performance; players who struggled in Spring and got off to great starts. I realize it doesn’t feel right to ignore stats (a perceived measure of performance in ST), but from small sample sizes, variability in how players build up for the season, how many use ST to “work on things” and the fact that we don’t have any clue what happens on the “back fields” … ST stats are notoriously deceptive–draw conclusions from them at your own risk.

    • Luke J

      Spring training is to get ready for the season. That’s why you have it. It might feel like tryouts for some players, but that isn’t the point of spring training.

    • Grover

      Why have spring training? To get in shape mostly. Santillan will be up again, have no fear. Reds will be running relievers back and forth from Louisville all year just like last year. With this starting staff they will need about 20 relievers to get through the year.

      • Optimist

        Mostly true Grover – they will be moving 2 or 3 relievers up and down, and probably 1 or 2 starters, but it won’t be anything like last season. Very doubtful to have so many lengthy injury absences, and almost certainly not getting as desperate as having starter tryouts. Louisville’s staff and bullpen will have several MLB experienced and healthy arms available.

        They used 38 pitchers last season (I don’t count the 2 position players). 19 of which threw less than 20 ip. Even with 2 September callups (Petty, Lowder?) they shouldn’t need more than 10 callups thru the season, perhaps fewer.

    • Still a Red

      Have to remember too that in ST players are not always playing against the other team’s A-team. I haven’t followed the games and lineups that close to know but some of these good numbers may be coming against less than MLB competition.

      Also, some guys do make it on the roster based on ST performance…see India a couple years ago and Benson last year.

  7. docproc

    Shocked about Ford and Santillan. Seriously?

  8. Jason Linden

    I think it’s not so much that spring performance doesn’t count so much as the stats we are used to don’t matter. Organizations likely have certain areas of improvement they are looking for from certain players. Could be approach or secondary pitches or any of the stuff that doesn’t really show up in the typical stats.

    And the typical stats are worthless for any of the billions of reasons that have already been discussed elsewhere. If anyone is genuinely curious, go look. Studies are out there. And they’re pretty definitive.

  9. Hotto4Votto

    Man I really thought Ford was gonna be this year’s Vosler.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m pretty shocked -by them letting Ford go.

      • Melvin

        There goes the Indiana Jones walk up music. 😉

  10. David

    Perusing the Reds’ 40 man roster, there ain’t a lot of give there, unless they want to take a pitcher or two at AAA off the 40 man (like Christian Roa, for example, or Casey Legumina).
    Rece Hinds is on the 40 man, at AAA. Want to keep him.
    McLain and Freidl will likely go on the DL shortly. Santiago Espinal (backup infielder for the injured McLain) is on the 40 man/26 man.
    Ford may bounce back on the 40 man/26 man when the DL decision is made on McLain and Friedl. This may have been whispered to him, and not a public announcement, pending a medical decision on McLain (Friedl is a foregone conclusion).
    Also wonder if Lodolo is going East with the club in the bullpen, or whether he stays in Arizona for extended Spring Training, because he is not in the Starting Rotation. Doug indicates he will start the season on the DL.

    • Doc

      Re Lodolo, it has been previously reported that he will start 3/26 in a Goodyear minor league game, then make 2 rehab starts with Louisville, targeting an April 10 start with the Reds.

  11. ClevelandRedsFan

    How does Lodolo, and potentially McClain, starting the year in AAA affect service time?

    • Doug Gray

      It doesn’t because both will be there on rehab.

  12. DaveCT

    So, for the purpose of discussion, if staying in house, the 26th spot looks like a choice between Martini and Thompson.

    If Martini is being kept, in part, over Ford due to defensive versatility, isn’t this true of Thompson over Martini?

    Second, with Benson and Fraley being somewhat redundant as LH corner OF’s, I wonder if Thompson’s RH OF bat is more valuable than a LH corner OF/1B. We have Steer, and India will see time in the corners, so the need may not be too great.

    That said, I suppose there’s a reason we kept a thirty-something reserve OF/1B/PH on the 40-man all winter. Just as there is a reason regarding our two-time acquisition of Thompson. We’re probably about to find out.

    • BK

      @ Dave, it appears this group of twelve has made the team:

      1. Steer
      2. Benson
      3. Fraley
      4. Candelario
      5. EDLC
      6. India
      7. CES
      8. Stephenson
      9. Maile
      10. Espinal
      11. Fairchild
      12. Martini

      The Reds must add one more position player. I agree that Bubba Thompson may be the thirteenth player.

      • IndyRedsFan

        I hadn’t thought about Hurtabuise when I made the Bubba Thompson post. Now I’m thinking it’s one of those two, or someone let go by another team.

    • BK

      In fact, Sheldon is now reporting Martini has made the roster. Moll will start on the IL, Antone has made the team.

    • jmb

      Thompson will most likely get the nod, unless the Reds pull off a trade. He is a former #1 draft pick who hasn’t done much yet in the Bigs–the type of guys the Reds like to take a chance on. He’s only 25, hits right-handed, and he’s one of the fastest players in the MLB, so they’ll want to see what he can do, so much so that they released Ford.

    • Pete

      If he had only hit three home runs yesterday.

    • MBS

      I can’t believe I’m agitated about Ford being released. Especially since I like Martini. Martini can play 1B and OF, and that’s probably the whole argument for him over Ford.

      • DaveCT

        There’s likely more. Such as:

        Ford’s K rates the last three years. 2021, 31.9%; 2022, 26.9%; and 2023, 32.3%.

        Martini, K rate last two years in ML’s. 2021 22.2%; and 2023, 19%.

        Ford also has 0 (zero) stolen bases for his career.

        Anecdotally, I watched Ford a bunch with Seattle last year. We won’t miss him. He’s big, slow and not versatile defensively, and, while he has to be somewhat athletic, he doesn’t fit the mold of these Reds.

        Personally, I never understood why we signed him. At the time, I thought it may has been as a favor and to give him some visability this spring.

  13. Stoney

    Ford tearing it up in spring training so let’s show him the door. Makes zero sense to me.

    • Doug Gray

      He asked for his release, likely because another team is willing to give him a chance to play in the big leagues. This is common courtesy at this point in the spring.

      • Jason Franklin

        He may be a good fit for someone like the A’s where he could get a lot of potential starting time.

    • H.B.

      Take a look at his career stats. He’s a career .210 hitter. I’m certain we could claim someone off the waiver wire who can hit better than that. We have several players who can play first base who can hit better than that.

  14. Jim Delaney

    I don’t want to hear injuries when evaluating the performance of the Front
    office and Manager this season. The ownership increased the payroll… If the team finishes season worse than last year’s 82-80 record then heads should roll…

    • Jason Franklin

      Heads won’t roll. They will blame the losses on injuries and delayed development by the players. Why would they act like a compotently managed business?

      • DaveCT

        You spelled competent wrong …

        Sorry, man, but it made me laugh.

    • David

      Heads should roll?

      Sounds like they will be erecting the guillotine in Fountain Square next fall! 😉

      Seriously, as much as Ford hit hard this Spring, and the Reds are a little deficient from the Right Side, he is probably NOT versatile, can only play 1st base (we got a TON of those guys) or DH (some more of those guys), the Reds problem is going to be PITCHING….AGAIN. I think the Reds will struggle until the pitching sorts itself out.
      Frankly, their A-number one drafted pitcher, Hunter Greene, did not pitch well this Spring. I hope it was because he was working on his splitter and curve, but somehow I don’t think that’s the case.
      Frank Montas is going to be innings limited.
      Nick Lodolo starts the year in AAA (thanks for the update, guys), on Rehab, and who knows how that goes?
      Martinez did not look good in his LAST start of the Spring.
      And Alexis Diaz, their super closer from 2023, also did not look good this Spring.
      And I don’t know how Ashcraft and Abbott will shake out.

      Overall, the staff looks shakey. Even if they had signed ONE top end starter, they still were not at all sharp in Spring Training, especially NOW at the end, when it should be looked at seriously.

    • MK

      Got to give them a little break since 3 out of 8 position players who were pencilled in as everyday starters are out for significant time. 1/3 of Top 6 starting pitchers out.

      • Jason Linden

        1/3 of almost every single team’s starting pitchers will miss time this season.

    • greenmtred

      But injuries, of course, can make a very big difference. It’s rare to have a reserve player who can match the performance of a starter for more than a few games: that’s why they’re reserves. The Reds added a lot of depth and, this, hopefully will help, but losing the starting center fielder, the starting second baseman and Marte, who would likely have had an important role, as well as several pitchers, would certainly have a considerable impact on any team.

  15. Optimist

    This is actually some fairly impressive news from the front office – still plenty of time to watch the wire for a position player, and perhaps even a pitcher, claim. Santillan will likely be up before mid-May, and Martini and Espinal are on the bubble by the break if rehabs lead to returns in July.

    Ford is probably grateful for the showing they allowed him, and may well end up with a full season on someone’s 26-man.

    Trautwein is going to AA? Would he get enough time in AAA with the 2 backups already there?

    Still think they pick up another reliever before the opener, and this gives Dunn/Hinds/Hurtubise a good 2 months to perform for the Bats.

    Will be most impressive if they can swing another trade in the next week.

    • DaveCT

      Optimizing optimism, again, are ya?

  16. Jim

    Based on comments above, you would think Ford was going to lead us to the World Series! At best he would pinch hit 75 AB and start 15 games. He got beat out by Martini who partly earned his spot with his MLB performance last year.
    Managing the team is more than the 40 man roster. They sent Santillan to AAA because they can while keeping as many good arms as possible. They will need them all.
    Interested to see who #26 will be.