Reds’ 40-man roster features familiar names, new faces entering spring training

Nick Krall interview, Part 2 (Feb. 8, 2021)

Reds start prep for 2021 season this week in Arizona

Spring training in 2021 won’t look like spring training in 2020 or any other previous season.

The coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training on March 12 last year and then limited how many players teams brought to Summer Camp in July. The COVID-19 situation will continue to keep teams from bringing their entire collections of minor league talent to Arizona and Florida.

On Monday, Cincinnati Reds Vice President and General Manager Nick Krall said he expected to have 65 or 66 major and minor league players in Goodyear, Ariz., in February and March, though that number could change depending on Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols.

There was no minor league season in 2020, though some Reds prospects were among the group that trained at the alternate site in Mason throughout the 60-game season last summer. Still, it’s going to be more of a challenge evaluating players.

“There are going to be guys that come to camp who haven’t played a game in over a year,” Krall said. “Maybe they got into an instructional league. You’re just going to have to evaluate guys where they are and see what that looks like. I know that there have been big-league guys who have really worked out hard this offseason. Eugenio Suarez has trimmed up and looks really good. You just have to see where guys are, how they’re moving and how they’re throwing the ball, and I think it’s going to be a little bit of wait and see.”

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Reds pitchers and catchers are expected to report to spring training Wednesday, and position players report Feb. 21. The Reds open Cactus League play Feb. 28 against the Cleveland Indians and begin the 2021 regular season at 4:10 p.m. April 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds completed their 40-man roster Wednesday with two additions. Here’s a rundown of that roster as it stands now.

Joey Votto, of the Reds, celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Brewers on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Joey Votto, of the Reds, celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Brewers on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Oldest player: First baseman Joey Votto, 37, enters his 15th season with the Reds. He’s under contract through the 2024 season and will earn $25 million this season.

Youngest player: Shortstop Jose Garcia, who signed with the Reds in 2017 when he was 19, will turn 23 on April 5. He’s the only player on the 40-man roster born in 1998. He made his big-league debut in 2020, batting .194 (13 for 67) in 24 games.

Two players on the roster were born in 1997: right-handed pitchers Tony Santillan and Jared Solomon,

Returning starters: In addition to Votto, seven other players return who started the final game of the season, a 5-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the National League Division Series: left fielder Shogo Akiyama; right fielder Nick Castellanos; Suarez, who’s entering his seventh season as the starting third baseman; second baseman Mike Moustakas; designated hitter Jesse Winker; center fielder Nick Senzel; and two-time Gold Glove-winning catcher Tucker Barnhart.

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Bench help: In addition to Garcia and the eight returning starters, there are five other players who saw time with the Reds last season or in 2019 who are on the 40-man roster: catcher Tyler Stephenson, who made his big-league debut last season; infielders Alex Blandino and Kyle Farmer; and outfielders Aristides Aquino and Mark Payton.

New hitters: There are four position players who were added to the roster this winter. Three have limited big-league experience.

• Outfielder Scott Heineman came to the Reds from the Rangers on Dec. 16 in a trade for minor league infielder Jose Acosta. Heineman hit .154 in 24 games last season, his second in the big leagues.

• The Reds claimed catcher Deivy Grullón off waivers from the Red Sox on Dec. 23. He went 1-for-3 in his one appearance with Boston last season and appeared in four games with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2019, his first big-league season.

• The Reds acquired infielder Kyle Holder from the Philadelphia Phillies for cash Jan. 30. He’s a career .264 hitter in five minor-league seasons.

• The Reds claimed infielder Max Schrock off waivers from the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. He made his big-league debut in 2020 with the St. Louis Cardinals and went 3-for-17 in 11 games.

Reds starter Luis Castillo pitches against the Royals on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds starter Luis Castillo pitches against the Royals on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski/Staff

Rotation stalwarts: Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Wade Miley are expected to start.

Other options are Michael Lorenzen, Tejay Antone, Jose De Leon and Jeff Hoffman, who the Reds acquired from the Colorado Rockies in November.

Closing options: Amir Garrett, who’s entering his fifth season with the Reds, is one of the top contenders to take over the role Raisel Iglesias had the last four seasons. Veteran closer Sean Doolittle, who signed with the Reds on Monday, is another possibility.

Bullpen help: In addition to Garrett and Antone, the Reds have two other players who made double-digit relief appearances last season: Lorenzen and Lucas Sims. If Lorenzen doesn’t join the starting rotation, he’ll return to the bullpen.

Another familiar name among relievers competing for jobs is Sal Romano, 27, who has pitched four seasons with the Reds but made only two appearances last season.

New pitchers: There are six players with limited big-league experience on the roster who are new to the Reds.

• The Reds acquired right-hander Brandon Bailey from the Astros for cash on Nov. 20. He made his big-league debut with the Houston in 2020 and had a 2.45 ERA in five relief appearances.

• Noé Ramirez, 31, had a 3.00 ERA in 21 appearances with the Los Angeles Angels last season. The Reds acquired him in the Iglesias trade on Dec. 7.

• Edgar Garcia signed a one-year contract with the Reds on Dec. 23. He had a 10.80 ERA in four relief appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020. He made his big-league debut a season earlier with the Philadelphia Phillies and had a 5.77 ERA in 35 appearances.

• A native of Napolean, Ohio, Art Warren made it to the big leagues in 2019 with the Seattle Mariners and did not give up a run in six appearances. The Reds traded cash to the Texas Rangers for Warren on Jan. 6

• Hector Perez, 24, was the 36th player added to the 40-man roster on Jan. 22. The Reds traded cash and a player to be named later to the Toronto Blue Jays for Perez. After five seasons in the minors, he reached the big leagues last season and allowed two earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in his one appearance.

• Cionel Perez, 24, a native of the Dominican Republic, joined the roster on the same day as Hector Perez. He pitched five seasons in the minor leagues before making his big-league debut in 2020. He allowed two earned runs in 1 2/3 innings on Sept. 16 against the New York Yankees.

Dragons starter Tony Santillan throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against Burlington on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Field. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing
Dragons starter Tony Santillan throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against Burlington on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Field. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

Rookie pitchers: Four players who have never pitched in the big leagues are on the roster.

• Ryan Hendrix last pitched in 2019, reaching Double-A. He was a fifth-round pick in 2016.

• Riley O’Brien came to the Reds organization in August in a trade that sent reliever Cody Reed to the Tampa Bay Rays. An eighth-round pick in 2017, O’Brien has started 40 games in three minor league seasons and has a 2.83 ERA.

• Solomon last pitched in 2019 with the Single-A Dayton Dragons and Daytona Tortugas. He had a 3.98 ERA in 26 starts.

• Santillan made it to Double-A in 2019 and had a 4.84 ERA in 21 starts.

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