GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds have precious few spots open on their potential 25-man roster. Barring injury, there appears to be one opening in the starting rotation and two in the bullpen if they go with 12 pitchers and three if there are 13. Plus, the bench must be assembled.With
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds have precious few spots open on their potential 25-man roster. Barring injury, there appears to be one opening in the starting rotation and two in the bullpen if they go with 12 pitchers and three if there are 13. Plus, the bench must be assembled.
With the Cactus League schedule opening on Friday for the Reds, when they play the Indians at 3:05 p.m. ET at Goodyear Ballpark, players competing for spots will have their first opportunity to impress.
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Although many people have an idea who the favorites are to make the team, here are three dark-horse candidates who will seek to break camp and play in Cincinnati.
Left-hander Amir Garrett
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What has to happen to make it: As camp opened, Reds manager Bryan Price signaled Garrett is on the periphery of the rotation battle when he said the lefty might get a couple of starts. That likely means someone would have to underperform or get injured for Garrett to move up. But that's exactly how the impressive left-hander made the Opening Day rotation last spring.
What it would mean: Garrett would provide a second left-handed starter to the Reds' rotation along with Brandon Finnegan, but he could also potentially be a piece for the bullpen, where the club is contemplating using pitchers who don't make the Opening Day rotation. One thing to keep in mind: The Reds successfully requested and received a fourth option for Garrett, which means he could go to Triple-A Louisville and provide potential depth in the rotation down the line -- if needed.
Shortstop Nick Senzel
What has to happen to make it: Note that it said "shortstop," because it's the position Senzel has worked at the most in the early days of Spring Training. For the team's top prospect to make it, his camp would have to be so exceptional that he forced his way on to the roster. It would also mean something drastic happened to current starting shortstop Jose Peraza. However, Senzel could also find a home at third base if Eugenio Suarez was injured.
What it would mean: For Senzel, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, it would be an accelerated, but anticipated, Major League debut. It would give Reds fans something to buzz about, as well. But the club would probably prefer to have Senzel begin 2018 with Louisville. His making the team would mean it's not concerned with starting his service time clock toward arbitration and free agency, which may not be prudent in the big picture down the road.
Right-hander Jimmy Herget
What has to happen to make it: Herget has not pitched in the big leagues yet, but the sidearm reliever has impressed people all the way up the Reds' system -- including Price. The organization's No. 18 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, would have to leapfrog other pitchers with more big league experience.
What it would mean: Competition for relief roles tightened when free agents Jared Hughes and David Hernandez were signed in the offseason. Herget is also a non-roster invitee, so he's got an extra hurdle to get on the 40-man roster before he can be on the 25-man. Cincinnati's bullpen would be righty-heavy with one -- or perhaps two -- left-handers, but Herget's deceptive delivery and hard velocity would provide a nice boost for the 'pen. He could be a potential closer in the making.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.